Following the tragic death of singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse earlier this year, two of her closest collaborators, Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, have put together an album using Winehouse’s unfinished recordings that’s set to be released on December 5. Amy’s father, Mitch Winehouse, oversaw the production. Entitled Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, the album will include 12 tracks featuring Winehouse originals, unreleased tracks, alternative versions of her existing songs and covers of other artists’ songs.
All of which leads us to this: Will the record-buying public consider this record, with its mismash of demos, outtakes, and B-sides, as anything more than a “cashgrab”? In its defense, Mark Ronson’s pivotal role in the project— given his close friendship, ongoing creative partnership and overwhelming admiration for Amy—lends a great deal of credence to the project, and having yet to hear it, leads us to believe that the project was assembled with great affection. Additionally, the fact that Â£1 from each album sold will benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation, an institution set up in Amy’s honor to support those dealing with substance abuse issues and addiction, seems to be a positive sign. However, there is a cynical part of us that can’t help but feeling like this record is being rushed to take advantage of the holiday buying season, and also that it won’t be the last posthumous album that Winehouse releases. We seriously doubt that her estate contains the same sort of treasure trove of unreleased studio sessions that 2Pac’s did, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Full tracklisting for Amy Winehouse Lionness: Hidden Treasures below: Read more…
Rick Ross: Gentleman Rap Boss Devin Friedman admits that he’s “basically eating out of [Rick Ross's] hand” for the majority of his time with the rapper, but manages some good insights (e.g. “Rick Ross is always both inside and outside a joke he’s making about hip-hop music”) and many more entertaining observations about the kindly boss, whom he describes as “the fat black McConaughey,” in his profile for October’s GQ. [GQ]
Complex On Kreayshawn In Brief Ernest Baker‘s profile of Kreayshawn for Complex is less intriguing; luckily for us (and you), Katherine St. Asaph sums it up at Popdust. Key facts: she wants to slap The Game in the face, and she bought that Game Boy Color she always wanted after she got signed. [Popdust] Read more…
At last month’s 2011 Video Music Awards, Tony Bennett introduced Bruno Mars‘ outstanding tribute to Winehouse by sharing a short clip of himself and Winehouse in the studio cutting a cover of the jazz standard “Body And Soul.” As of now, it’s one of the last pieces of recorded music that Winehouse contributed to before her tragic and untimely passing, although if the rumors hold up, there may be more Winehouse cuts on the way someday soon.
Aside from being a very pleasant rendition of the song, the thing that strikes us the most about this video is seeing Amy Winehouse in the habitat where she always felt the most comfortable — the studio. Most of the memories that we have of the last few years of her life are paparazzi shots of her strung out on the streets of London, wasting away before our very eyes. This video, in which Winehouse looks both healthy and happy, stands in stark contrast those tabloid images. Sure, she appears a bit fidgety at times, but we attribute that behavior not to drugs, but rather to her uniquely personal method of channeling the ghosts of great jazz singers past, like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday (both of whom not-so-coincidentally recorded versions of “Body And Soul”). We’ll also admit it breaks our heart more than a little bit to watch the way that she coyly batted her mascara-laden eyelashes at the inimitable Bennett, knowing that we’ll never get to see her do that again.
The most anticipated track on the record, though, is Tony Bennett’s duet with Lady Gaga on the Rogers and Hart classic, “The Lady Is A Tramp.” Our VH1 News team recently caught up with Bennett, and he had nothing but lavish praise to bestow on the Mother Monster. “She is an amazing singer, she has the same gift as Ella Fitzgerald,” he told us. It’s not just her ability to sing and tickle the ivories that has him impressed, though: “I like the audience reaction when she does a performance. The people go out to lunch, I’ve never heard such enthusiasm.” We’ve never heard the Little Monsters’ reaction to Gaga’s concerts described in that manner, but we’re pretty confident that they’re gonna eat it up. You know, like lunch!
The 2011 VMAs are airing live from Los Angeles on Sunday night, and the latest addition to the evening’s already-stellar lineup is Tony Bennett. The 85 year-old (!) will captain what’s sure to be an emotional tribute to recently-deceased singer Amy Winehouse. Introducing a slew of performers who are currently being kept confidential by the folks in MTV’s ivory tower, we’re excited to see that Bennett, who had recently collaborated with Winehouse on a duet due this fall, “Body and Soul,” will make an appearance on the notoriously youthful VMA stage. While the majority of the MTV audience’s demographic was not yet even a twinkle in their parents’ eyes when Bennett took home his first Grammy in 1963, this certainly isn’t the first time an elder statesman has been booked on MTV’s annual celebration of the year’s best music videos. Want to see what we mean? Check out our list of the Top 5 Oldest People To Appear On-Camera at The VMAS!
5) George Clinton, 52 Years-Old (1993): George Clinton presented the Best R&B Video award alongside West Coasters Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in ’93. Then 52 years-old, the funk innovator and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee must have been pretty psyched to hand Moonmen over to the lovely ladies of En Vogue. And the Funky Divas were most likely equally as pleased!
3) Diana Ross, 55 Years-Old (1999): Who could forget the jiggle heard ’round the world? When Mary J. Blige accompanied Lil’ Kim, Lil’ Kim’s breast, and Motown sensation Diana Ross to present the award for Best Hip-Hop in ’99, all hell broke loose! The then-55-year-old Rosstook it upon herself to, on live television, cup and jiggle Kim’s pasty-covered, partially-exposed boobie.
Green Day took a break from working on their new album last week to road-test what they’d written?sort of. On Tuesday the band announced a last-minute, Thursday night benefit show for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the 250-capacity Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa, CA, and their set that night included, by some accounts, nineteen unreleased songs. Despite the “STRICT NO CAMERA, NO CELL PHONE POLICY,” a recording of “Amy” made it onto YouTube, and judging from the lyrics, later posted on the band’s website, the song is a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse (“27, gone without a trace/ And you walked away from your drink”).
“Amy” kicked off the encore, which also included a cover of Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Goodbye to Romance” and eight Green Day fan favorites. The band has provided no information on the timeline of their upcoming studio album, nor any word on which of the new songs will even make the cut.
Coldplay paid tribute to the late Amy Winehouse in concert on Sunday night at the Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia, and in their latest tour-blog update, they shared what sounds like a soundboard recording of the chorus of “Rehab,” which they played during their encore as an introduction to their own “Fix You.” “There?s little that can be said about Amy Winehouse?s passing that hasn?t already been said,” the band writes in the post. “It?s just such a sad waste. We?ll leave aside the awful irony and just let the Aussie choir sing” (referring to the audience’s unprompted singalong). The tribute is understated and respectful, and as far as we can tell from reviews and other clips, the band didn’t say any words, letting the music (not to mention the audience) speak for itself.
The dog days of summer are upon us, people. It’s August, it’s hot outside, and the news cycle is starting to slow to a crawl. The general sluggishness of the season is even affecting the music industry, as music fans don’t seem to be gravitating towards any new material. Instead, they seem to be content to play the same songs that they’ve had on repeat all summer long.
Case in point: Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” which has exhibited a stranglehold on the top of our Song of the Summer Countdown for six consecutive weeks. Her song looks to have a lock on the prize at this point, but then again, maybe The Throne (aka Jay-Z and Kanye West) can mount a last-minute challenge when their highly anticipated collaboration Watch The Throne drops next week? Stay tuned!
Until an official report on the cause of Amy Winehouse’s death becomes public, many are more than happy to speculate, including, most recently, Tony Azzopardi, a 56-year-old London man who claims to have been friends with the singer and her now-incarcerated ex Blake Fielder-Civil. Azzopardi has given several interviews to local police?and several more to the British tabloids?indicating that, in spite of the claims of Winehouse’s family, the singer had relapsed, a fact he knew as a result of helping her buy crack cocaine and heroin on the eve of her death.
“She sang from her soul,” Estelle told VH1 News, as Big Sean looked on. She recalled first hearing “F?k Me Pumps,” from Winehouse’s debut Frank: “I’m sitting there, like, ‘I know girls like that! I know every one of ‘em girls! We rave with them every week!’” Clearly, even though the two singers came up together, Estelle admired her late friend’s lyrical talents. “It’s hard as an artist to be that clear and that clean in your message and what you’re talking about,” she said. “[Amy Winehouse] was the only one I knew who could do that, and just speak it.” The real revelation of the interview, though, is the new level of appreciation that Big Sean develops for Winehouse as Estelle speaks. “Wow! That’s crazy! I didn’t know it was like that,” he said, admiringly, adding, “I didn’t personally know her. That’s real, man. She sounded like a real G. No, seriously!” (Anyone who needs a reminder of her realness need only watch her shocked gratitude at winning the Grammy for Record of the Year. WARNING: That video nearly made us cry at work?and we watched the ceremony live.) Read more…