The most detailed and insightful portrait of the life and death of Amy Winehouse, in the context of the infamous 27 Club. The death of Amy Winehouse at the age of 27 was a tragedy. She was one of the brightest music stars in years - a brilliant, original songwriter with a mighty voice and great personal charm.
Amy was loveable, but troubled. She was as notorious for her messy personal life, drug addiction and alcoholism, as she was celebrated for her songs, and her death in 2011, while shocking, was not unexpected. Amy was also the latest in a series of iconic music stars who died at the same young age; starting with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones whose death in 1969 was followed by Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in 1970, Jim Morrison in 1971, and Kurt Cobain in 1994. All were gifted. All were dissipated. All were 27. The 27 Club was first used as a collective term for these lost souls after a comment by Kurt Cobain's mother. 'He's gone and joined that stupid club,' she said after Kurt shot himself. 'I told him not to...'
In this groundbreaking book, Howard Sounes delivers a detailed and insightful study of Amy Winehouse's life, and sets that life in the context of the 27 Club. That six big music stars died at 27 - along with 44 less well-known names - is on one level a coincidence. But behind this coincidence Sounes reveals is a disturbing common narrative that explains how these artists met their fate, and casts new light on Amy's death in particular.
"Fans of Amy and of the host of music stars who met their end too soon will find much to enthrall them here." (Stylist)
"Sounes' masterstroke is to unearth forensic levels of detail on his subjects. Jim Morrison's end in a Paris bathtub is well known, but Sounes reveals minutiae explaining the bad luck that caused this unhappy and alcoholic but probably not suicidal man to die when he did.... Sounes acknowledges the danger of theorising too heavily on the 27 Club but in the main he has pulled off what could have been a tasteless project with sensitivity. And he's best of all on the subject that clearly fascinates him: the relationship between Amy Winehouse and her father." (The Times)
"Much of the book's power lies in its refusal to pander to the romantic-melancholy notion of the tortured young artist who lives fast and dies young. Instead the squalor and chaos of their everyday existence if exposed in uncompromising detail... This book is not about more rock star mythologizing. It's about skewering the mystery of the 27-connection, by exposing its all-too-tragic reality." (Sunday Times)
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Probably better as a book than an Audio Book
This was time well spent - the book seems to stick to the fact and no conspiracy theories included. Lots of information about those in the 27 club that I didn't know - it was all very interesting and I'm glad I downloaded the book.
I liked that it seemed to be a factual book and not out to shock or make mysterious claims, as many books of this type seem to do.
This book was narrated by the author, and it is very much one of those books that would have been so much better if a professional narrator had got the job instead.
Howard Sounes is rubbish at accents, his French accents sound like something off of "Allo Allo", his Amy Winehouse East London accent slips into Australian accent in parts or dodgy Eastender character in others. His American accent is laughable and I found it really detracting from what would otherwise been an enjoyable and easy read.
Yes - it inspired me to go get out the Doors, Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix, Nirvana and Any Winehouse CDs and give them a good old blast out - here's to those sad but talented people who left an indelible legacy for this world despite leaving it so young themselves.
- Shed End Girl