Amy Winehouse was an English pop-soul singer whose hit song "Rehab" seemed to sum up her life: tremendous musical talent mixed with fearsome personal demons. She died in 2011 at the age of 27. She is credited with inspiring the British retro-R&B trend of the mid-2000s that led to the rise of artists like Lily Allen and Adele
and the American pop star Lady Gaga
. As a youngster, Amy Winehouse bounced through a number of schools, including a stint at the BRIT School for the Performing Arts and Technology. A hot demo tape got Winehouse a recording contract with Island Records when she was still a teen, and her debut album, Frank
(2003), earned heaps of praise and put her on the map in the U.K. With beehive hair, Cleopatra-style eyeliner, the vocal swagger of Nina Simone and the bad behavior of Janis Joplin
, Winehouse won attention from music critics and gossip journalists alike. Her second release, Back to Black
(2006), made Winehouse a bigger star in the U.K. and in the United States, where the album was released in 2007. By then she was also making headlines for cancelling shows and for regular public displays of drunkenness, all of which reinforced her image as a bruised soul and gave life to the songs she was selling. (The Back to Black
single "Rehab" included the now-famous refrain, "They tried to make me go to rehab / I said no, no, no.") Winehouse won five Grammy Awards in 2008, including awards for best new artist, best pop vocal album (for Back to Black
), and three awards for "Rehab": record of the year, song of the year, and best pop vocal performance. (Visa problems kept Winehouse from flying to Los Angeles for the awards show, so instead she performed dynamic versions of "Rehab" and "You Know I'm No Good" via satellite hookup.) It turned out to be the high-water mark of her career; she never recorded another album, and her drug and alcohol problems spiraled out of control. Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment on 23 July 2011; three months later, a coroner's report said that she had been drinking heavily and "the unintended consequence of such potentially fatal levels was her sudden and unexpected death.''