The Amy Winehouse documentary Amy is in theaters right now. Everything we've seen from it has pounded us right in the heart-bone, including the devastating trailer and the scene where 14-year-old Amy gives the Winehouse Treatment to "Happy Birthday" in a home movie.
Today we've got a video from March 2006 in New York, where Ms. W and her producer and collaborator Mark Ronson (wayyy pre-"Uptown Funk") recorded the instantly iconic "Back to Black." The title track for the gone-much-too-soon chanteuse's second album was an intense process, as she says in the candid footage:
"I really was on a role. Because I have these feelings, I have these words floating around in me. When you write a song, you have to remember how you felt, you have to remember what the weather was like, you have to remember what his neck smelled like—you have to remember all of it."
Amy looks absurdly casual in the booth, with casual short-shorts, eye makeup on point and her headspace somewhere in that other world with the other weather, the foreign scents. The long vocal take pauses at the 2:10 mark in the video above, at which point Winehouse goes: "Ooh, it's a bit upsetting at the end, isn't it?" She grins and mimics the track's semi-sinister bombast. God—how are we not supposed to miss the bejesus out of this goddess?
Ronson remembers recording "Back to Black" like this:
"It was just one of those serendipitous things, like I just caught her at that magic moment, you know? And she was just ready to get it going. That's why I couldn't understand what everyone else was saying about this 'procrastinating, troubled artist.'"