Before the sky-high beehive, there was Frank.
Fourteen years ago, Amy Winehouse came into the world like a tornado when her debut album Frank was released on October 20, 2003 on Island Records. It sold over a million copies in the U.K. and was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry.
Titled Frank in honor of Winehouse’s idol Frank Sinatra, the record immediately set her signature themes of heartbreak, inner demons and jazz. Songs like “You Should Be Stronger Than Me” and “In My Bed,” both about relationships coming to an end, include odes to jazz like scatting, brass instruments and piano. Not to mention her amazing contralto voice that can smoothly reach highs and lows and carry on for days.
In a 2004 interview, Winehouse calls the album a “pure jazz/ hip-hop” album, with no “blues or folk.” She adds, “I just wanted to write music that was emotional and that people would want to listen to and connect with.”
Back To Black is probably Winehouse’s most well-known album in the U.S. The tracks “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good” were her only songs that topped the U.S. pop charts.
But it’s Frank that separates the true fans from the casual listeners. It introduced to the world a strong and confident women with a voice without limitations. The songs are about empowerment and getting up after a lost love, where Back To Black is more about feeling powerless after a horrible heartbreak.
A BBC review of Frank written upon its release says, “If this is what the young lady is capable of at such an early stage it must be pretty certain that this will be the first in a long line of well crafted, funky and feisty releases.”
Three years after Frank, she released her international breakthrough album Back To Black, which went on to win five Grammys.
Unfortunately, we lost this blossoming talent way too early in 2011 when Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning at 27. Below we take a moment to remember Amy Winehouse’s Frank and get lost in the brilliance of her music.
”Stronger Than Me”
”In My Bed”
”Fuck Me Pumps”
Interview/ “I Heard Love Was Blind”
”You Sent Me Flying” live
”Mr. Magic” live