Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse, who has died aged 27, ticked all the right boxes for a self-destructive wild child of pop, having bags of “attitude”, a drink and drugs problem and a no-good man; yet underneath the ratty beehive hair-do, oversized plastic earrings, kohl-encrusted eyes and tattoo-covered arms, she was also an addictive and engaging performer with a natural deep voice who sang with a jazzy, passionate energy.

Amy Winehouse’s music — Sixties pop-soul in 21st-century street slang — was always less interesting than her chaotic off-stage life. Her name seldom featured in the press unless prefixed by the word “troubled” and accompanied by an account of her battles with drink and drugs and her dependent-abusive relationship with her husband, a petty drug dealer and junkie called Blake Fielder-Civil. Cancelled gigs, brushes with the law and spells in rehab gave the press plenty to write about; commentators saw parallels between Amy Winehouse’s charge towards self-destruction with Blake Fielder-Civil and their punk rock counterparts Nancy Spungeon and Sid Vicious.

Amy Winehouse’s rake’s progress began when, aged 16, she dropped out of school and sang with a jazz band. By 18 she had signed a deal with Island Records and had moved out of her mother’s home into a Camden flat. Her first record, Frank, released in 2003, brought nominations for a host of awards including the Mercury Music Prize. She won an Ivor Novello award the following year for her first single, Stronger Than Me.

But in 2005 she met Blake Fielder-Civil in a Camden pub. A “music video assistant”, he was already in a relationship, but they began an affair. He had her name tattooed behind his right ear, and she had his tattooed over her heart. They also had matching scars on their arms (inflicted, so it was said, at Fielder-Civil’s “self-harm parties”).

When they met, by Amy Winehouse’s own admission, she smoked cannabis and drank more than was good for her. But as their relationship developed she became notorious for drunken public appearances, including one time when she ran off stage during a performance to vomit. At the Q Awards in 2006 she heckled Bono during his acceptance speech with.