By JAKE COYLE (AP Entertainment Writer)
NEW YORK — Amy Winehouse released only two albums in her life, one of which sold more than a million copies, won five Grammys and sparked a retro soul movement that hasn’t yet stopped.
The small output, in inverse relation to her outsized talent, made her death Saturday in London all the more tragic. Fans will only be able to imagine the unrecorded singles, the never-to-be concerts and the comeback album that didn’t come.
It’s a sadly familiar script in pop music, the history of which is checkered with greats and would-be greats snuffed out too early in life.
Almost as soon as news of Winehouse’s death broke and spread across social media, fans were inducting her into the unfortunate pantheon of music talents gone too soon. Many noted that Winehouse, 27, shared the same age at death as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison.
The British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, though, realized that a meaningful commonality was being mistaken for coincidence.
”It’s not age that Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain & Amy have in common,” wrote Bragg on Twitter. ”It’s drug abuse, sadly.”
The cause of Winehouse’s death was not immediately known, but reports indicated that the young singer may have had drugs in her system.
The posthumous releases from Winehouse will surely follow, and her legacy will grow, reports reveal. But hopefully mythologizing will be resisted.
Winehouse’s death, an unfortunate but unsurprising end to a long, public decline, might be best remembered not just as another tragic loss but as a modern portrait of how untrue those rock myths really are.