Magazine article The Fader

Amy Winehouse: Mark Ronson Talks about the Quiet Days before an Album That-Changed Everything

Magazine article The Fader

Amy Winehouse: Mark Ronson Talks about the Quiet Days before an Album That-Changed Everything

Article excerpt

For Amy Winehouse, the Back to Black recording sessions were some of her final low-key moments before that album catapulted her into paparazzi hell. Working together on that now-classic, Winehouse and co-producer Mark Ronson were just two young artists casting as many magic spells as they could.

Mark Ronson: Amy was so serious about her words. Working on "Back to Black," when she first sang the chorus, she said, We only said goodbye in words/I died a hundred times. My producer instinct went off and I said, "Hey, sorry, it's got to rhyme. That's weird. Can you fix that?" And she just looked at me like I was crazy, like, "Why would I fix that? That's what came out." They're some of the most unlikely lyrics you could ever imagine on a massive pop single.

Everything happened so quickly. I did a little skeleton track for "Back to Black," and she came [to the studio] the next day. She didn't really get animated about anything, ever--she just had this dead stare--so I thought what I did didn't work. And then she just looked at me and said, "I love it. That's what I want my whole album to sound like." So she stayed for another five days, just me and her.

I had to do the orchestra behind her back. I said, "Amy, The Shangri-Las, the Phil Spector shit that you love, it's the orchestra that's doing a lot of that work." She was like, "Nah, I fucking hate it. It's Disney bullshit." She didn't hear it until "Love Is a Losing Game." She had her head down on the desk, and I was kind of terrified. …

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