The supremely talented singer died four years ago today
Alexandra Pollard

12:02 23rd July 2015

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23 July 2015: Four years ago today, something happened that the world had been waiting for - with either a sense of sickened anxiety, a half-hearted disinterest, or with a sort of morbid fascination - for many years. Amy Winehouse died.

At 27, Winehouse left behind her a life of tabloid intrusion, pathological battles with alcoholism, eating disorders and depression, and some of the most incredible music of our - or, let's face it, any - time. 

Despite having produced just two albums during her lifetime, those were two flawless, innovative, heartbreaking albums, and they deserve to live on for centuries to come. Here are Winehouse's greatest tracks, ranked. 

  • 11. 'Hey Little Rich Girl': Winehouse's cover of this Specials song shows her fondness for ska and reggae, and reflects the versatility of her musical output on the richly stimulating Back To Black B-sides.

  • 10. 'Valerie' feat. Mark Ronson: Winehouse and Ronson made The Zutons' mildly irritating indie-rock song into something richer and more soulful. Somehow, without changing a single word, Winehouse's delivery injected every line with a million times more bitterness, frustration and regret - all on top of Ronson's irresistibly buoyant instrumental.

  • 9. 'Addicted': The final track on Back To Black has a marvellous juxtaposition. The song, whilst being about smoking cannabis, is performed in a musical style that was popular in an era of pre-hippy conservatism.

  • 8. 'He Can Only Hold Her': Gospel backing choirs that, before now, have lingered in the background of Black To Black, are brought front and centre on 'He Can Only Hold Her', reflecting the diversity of ideas that went into creating her inimitable second album.

  • 7. 'In My Bed': The most intriguing cut from her debut album, Frank. The characteristically big vocal sound - enhanced by a choir of backing singers - is layered with a sense of emphatic playfulness. There's saxophone mixed in throughout, and solos on the outro that perfectly reflects her jazz influence.

  • 6. 'Love Is A Losing Game': The sentiment of the title alone is one resigned to gentle heartbreak, and it's a line that's repeated, with a slow, moving certainty, throughout the song. Despite the beauty of its delicate guitar playing, and adagio strings, it's Winehouse's voice - vulnerable and defiant at the same time - that packs the hardest punch.

  • 5. 'You Know I'm No Good': There's plenty of self-deprecation littered throughout Winehouse's music, but none more so than on this track. On the surface, with its rippling brass drum beat and infectious melody, you might assume a sort of playfulness in the chorus - but it's darker than that, dripping with a sense of inevitability about one's own flaws. "I cheated myself / Like I knew I would, / I told you I was trouble, / You know that I'm no good."

  • 4. 'Stronger Than Me': This is the first single from her debut album, and is a sultry patchwork of influences. Jazz, blues and soul are all present in a contemporary reworking.

  • 3. 'Tears Dry On Their Own': Though there's an attempt at defiance and independence in the song's chorus, Winehouse seems plagued by a sense that her self-doubt and self-destruction will only keep repeating itself. "Even if I stop wanting you / A perspective pushes through, I'll be some next man's other woman soon."

  • 2. 'Rehab': It's hard to listen to this song, once sung and received with such carefree defiance, without feeling a pang of regret. You'll know the chorus of course, but it's this verse that hits the hardest in light of Winehouse's fate: "I'm gonna lose my baby / So I always keep a bottle near. / He said, 'I just think you're depressed.' / This me: 'Yeah, baby, and the rest.'"

  • 1. 'Back to Black': 'Rehab' might have catapulted Winehouse to the reluctant global superstardom with which she struggled until the end, but it's 'Back To Black' that encapsulates her talent for raw, devastating poeticism and fluid, emotive vocals. Besides, is there an opening line more unapologetic and impactful than, "He left no time to regret / Kept his dick wet / With his same old safe bet"?

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Photo: WENN