image from drdavidalfaro.com
Writer(s): Amy Winehouse (see lyrics here)
First Charted: 10/28/2006
Peak: 9 US, 7 AAA, 32 MR, 7 UK, 10 CN, 27 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales *: 2.0 US, 0.6 UK, 2.6 world (includes US + UK)
Radio Airplay *: --
Video Airplay *: 206.34
Streaming *: --
* in millions
Aided by Mark Ronson’s production, Amy Winehouse’s second album, Back to Black, got her lauded as “supposedly the greatest thing to happen to soul music since Aretha Franklin.” MX The lead single, “Rehab,” became a top ten hit in her native UK and the U.S. and, more than a year after its release, cemented her acclaimed status with Grammy wins for Record and Song of the Year.
However, the song also documented the impending troubles Winehouse would inflict upon herself. Initially, when she sang “he’s trying to make me go to rehab” and replied with “I won’t go, go, go,” it evoked amusement. As her self-destructive exploits made her a regular in the British tabloids, her behavior “would come to seem less defiant than foolish.” PD She arguably became “more famous for her addictions and misbehavior than for her music.” DS
Ironically, “she set up her tabloid narrative with such precision in this song – and, by analogy, making the addictions and misbehavior of previous generations of pop stars seem less comfortably glamorous and more cellphone-photo sordid in the process.” DS
If one can get past the life-imitates-art quality of the song, “self-destructive behavior never sounded sexier.” MX Critic Josh Tyrangiel called it “the best song of 2007,” saying it “references four decades worth of soul music without once ripping it off.” WK The combination of her “sonically letter-perfect retro soul with producer Mark Ronson's 21st-century beat-muscle and cheekiness” RS’09 effectively updates “early-’60s orchestral pop into a sound that conjures Shirley Bassey working with Phil Spector.” PD Rolling Stone characterized it as a “Motown-style winner with a banging beat and a lovesick bad girl testifying like Etta James.” WK
The public hoped for years that she would get it together and release a follow-up album. Sadly, she succumbed to alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, passing away at only 27 years old.
Resources and Related Links:
Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.