Ten years ago on this day, singer and guitarist Amy Winehouse sadly passed away at her home in Camden Town, London. At 27 years old, she will remain forever young, immortalized in her music and the memories of those who watched from a distance and, at times, up close.
Here we get to see a 20-year-old Winehouse up close as she wows the crowd at London’s Wembley Arena with nothing more than her voice and a Stratocaster. In this 2004 all-star event marking the 50th anniversary of Fender’s iconic Stratocaster she goes it alone against a backdrop of guitar legends, including David Gilmour, Ronnie Wood, and Hank Marvin.
Widely known for her stellar vocal talents, Winehouse picked up the guitar as a child, eventually using a Stratocaster to perform some of her best-known songs. Inspired by the likes of Carole King, PJ Harvey, and Shuggie Otis, Winehouse’s self-tuition coupled with a remarkable gift for songwriting resulted in a unique playing style that was her perfect musical accompaniment.
“I just played every day. It was all I wanted to do,” she told an interviewer at the 2004 event. “It’s so easy to teach yourself if you love the guitar… If you learn how to play the guitar off someone [else] you just kind of learn to play it like them, you know what I mean? And that’s why I can say that while I’m not even an adequate guitarist, I’m still a distinctive guitarist. I sound different.”
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.