Today would’ve been Amy Winehouse’s 28th birthday. She died an untimely, far-too-premature death this past July of what may have been the result of a seizure. We may never know exactly why Amy Winehouse, one of the most gifted singers of her generation, was taken from her family, friends and fans at such a terribly young age, her career just beginning. But even in death, her legacy and her hauntingly brilliant voice lives on. And today’s premiere of Amy Winehouse’s “Body And Soul” video — a duet with the legendary Tony Bennett — provides a poignant reminder of her timeless talent.
“Body And Soul” is a jazz standard that dates back to the 1930s and has long been a staple performed by jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, to whom Amy Winehouse will now be forever linked. “Body And Soul” has also historically been performed as a male-female duet. And now the ineffably iconic Tony Bennett — his career has spanned seven decades, he just turned 85 and his career is as limitless as Amy’s could’ve been — will be forever linked to Amy Winehouse with the premiere of their “Body And Soul” video, taken from Tony Bennett’s upcoming Duets II album, out Sept. 20.
+ Watch Tony Bennett And Amy Winehouse’s “Body And Soul” video after the jump!
“Body And Soul” (an early look at the in-studio footage of Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett aired at the 2011 MTV VMAs in August) was filmed March 23, 2011, at Abbey Road Studios in London, and it’s so important for so many important reasons. Musically, it’s a timeless masterpiece. Amy Winehouse — perky, in control, alert, alive, possibly at her best — looks and sounds exactly as we should remember her.
I had the distinct honor of sitting down with Tony Bennett last week in his art studio overlooking New York’s Central Park to discuss his “Body And Soul” collaboration with Amy Winehouse, and he recalled her as the kind of natural-born genius you’re lucky to encounter once in a lifetime. Amy was someone he said he regretted not reaching out to and warning before her tragic death. She was “someone who knows how to intuitively improvise and make it believable and sing with humanity and soul and honesty, no compromising… Amy had that gift,” he said. “She was the only one of all of the contemporary artists that I’ve met through the years… She’s the only one that was able to do it.”
Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett’s “Body And Soul” feels untouched by time. And their “Body And Soul” duet is also remarkable because it’s the only time Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett were ever in the same room, the same recording studio, together, and it’s the last time they ever would be. It’s a monumental moment of matched bravura in music history that will never happen again.
Amy Winehouse’s recording of “Body And Soul,” already a bittersweet, melancholy torch song, is only made more chillingly unforgettable by her tragic passing just four months later. “Body And Soul” is a dramatic reminder that Amy Winehouse’s body may be gone, but her soul will forever live on.
+ Watch Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse’s “Body And Soul” video, and watch Tony Bennett discuss Amy Winehouse’s voice and the lasting legacy of having her on his Duets II album.