Last Saturday, singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her home. She was 27 years old. Although the police state that her death is unexplained at this time, there is little doubt that her passing is the result of years of alcohol and drug abuse.
It is sadly ironic that Winehouse’s biggest hit and biographical anthem was the bluesy song “Rehab” where she declared “No. No. No.” to anyone who would suggest that she needed that kind of help. Indeed, her life imitated her art to the bitter end.
Given my work with fathers, there was one line in Rehab that I found especially disturbing. It’s when Winehouse croons, “I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine…” So, I decided to do a little research to find out who’s her daddy. After all, what kind of father would tell a daughter who was spiraling down into a deadly cycle of addiction that she’s fine?
Well, it turns out that her daddy, Mitchell Winehouse, who nurtured her unique vocal style by singing Sinatra songs to her as a child, clearly did not think that she was “fine.” In fact, it was reported that he was very concerned because his daughter exhibited early signs of emphysema and an irregular heartbeat, all linked to her chain smoking and crack cocaine use. It’s also reported that he often admonished saying, “Yes. Yes. Yes.” and encouraged her to stop touring so that she could get the rehab that she desperately needed.
So, if Winehouse’s real daddy was telling her to go to rehab, then who’s the daddy that she was referring to in her song? Could it be that Winehouse had two daddies?
I think that the answer was clearly yes. The other “daddies” were the drug dealers that made it easy for her to get the high that ultimately brought her very low. All the while, they were telling her that she was fine.
But, they weren’t the only ones.
You see, Winehouse certainly was no “candle in the wind,” but rather, she was a brush fire that the winds of fame helped stoke out of control. In her concerts, she was often high, drunk, and disorderly. Most troubling, at most shows, her fans just urged her on, like in this performance of Rehab at Glastonbury. She was barely standing and visibly incoherent. Yet, the people watching were gleefully smiling, singing, cheering, snapping pictures and taking videos. They were having fun at her expense. They were telling her, she was fine.
Yes, Winehouse had two daddies. One who loved her and gave her life. The other who used her and gave her death. And, unfortunately, she said “No, No. No.” to the wrong one.