Fans of late British soul star Amy Winehouse will get a look at the final song and video the “Rehab” singer filmed before her death Wednesday when Tony Bennett releases the clip for the pair’s duet on the jazz standard “Body and Soul.” The clip will premiere at 6 a.m. on MTV, VH1, MTV Hits and mtvU and then repeat on an hourly basis throughout the morning, after which it will be available online on MTV.com.
The track and video will drop on what would have been Winehouse’s 28th birthday, and it will show the unique collaboration between the legendary crooner and the beehive-sporting retro soul singer who died July 23 of undetermined causes in her London apartment. The song and video were recorded on March 23 at Abbey Road Studios in London and the proceeds from its sale will be donated to the Amy Winehouse Foundation .
“We had a beautiful time recording together in the studio, and I knew that Amy was very happy with how she performed that day,” Bennett said in a statement. “I thought she was absolutely brilliant, and this recording truly captures the essence of her unique artistry. She was a rare talent.”
The video footage of the two singing together is bittersweet, with Winehouse looking healthy and alert, twirling her hair coquettishly as she matched him note-for-note on the standard. Wearing one of the plaid sweaters from her Fred Perry fashion collection, her hair in a signature bouffant, a smiling Winehouse held her own with Bennett, trading lines and sharing a warm hug at the end.
The recording session was filmed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha”) as part of an upcoming documentary on Bennett. The song will appear on the 85-year-old icon’s Duets II, which also features him singing with Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé, Queen Latifah, Carrie Underwood and John Mayer.
In some behind-the-scenes footage of the sessions, Winehouse discussed getting the call to record a song for the album. “The first time I met Tone was … can I call him Tone?” a smiling Winehouse said in the interview segment. “Should you ask him first really, before you start? … OK, first time I met Tone I would say I took my dad and my stepmother and my boyfriend to see him at Royal Albert Hall and we went both nights.”
Amy went on to describe her father Mitch’s reaction to the news that his daughter would be singing the song made popular by such icons as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Mitch, a budding lounge singer who released his debut album earlier this year, told her, “Oh, it’s only my favorite song in the world, oh my God, do you even know it?” Amy recalled, doing a bit of a silly impression of her pops.
“I was like, ‘Of course I know it, Mitchell, I’m your daughter, of course I know it.’ It was really exciting that he chose that song, because I do love it. It’s such a beautifully written song and it’s a song you can do a lot with, so I was really excited to sing that.”
Winehouse was particularly happy with the big ending on the recorded version and the way her voice blended “perfectly” with Bennett’s. “It couldn’t have been better,” she smiled.
MTV News caught up with Winehouse’s goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, on the pre-show black carpet at last month’s 2011 VMAs. “It’s sad to know that they’re paying a tribute to her death,” Bromfield said of the Bruno Mars-fueled nod to her musical inspiration. “Unfortunately it has to be this soon. I didn’t think it would be this soon at all.”
Bromfield, who has released two albums on Winehouse’s Lioness Records label, said the late singer was her musical godmother as well. “She taught me how to play instruments. I never knew how to play guitar or piano until Amy started to teach me. She taught me to write.” As for what she hoped people would take away from the tribute, Bromfield added: “Just the real Amy. … Not everything else, just her music.”
Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett’s “Body and Soul” video premieres Wednesday at 6 a.m. on MTV, VH1, MTV Hits and mtvU.