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Unreleased Winehouse material not ready for release

By | Published on Friday 29 July 2011

Amy Winehouse

The question of if and when Amy Winehouse’s unreleased recordings, made for her planned third album, will be released has been raised many times since her death on Saturday. But now her producer, Salaam Remi, has said that the tracks are not as close to completion as has been suggested by some.

Winehouse, of course, had not released an album since 2006’s ‘Back To Black’. She had been working on the follow-up for some time, but a number of mooted release dates passed with no sign of the record. As far back as November 2008, Universal chief Lucian Grainge told BBC 6music at the Music Industry Trusts Award lunch: “I’ve heard some demos and I’ve heard some simple acoustic songs that she’s played me in my office on acoustic guitar, and what I’ve heard has been sensational”.

But Remi told New York radio station Power 105.1 FM earlier this week: “We were working on it; it’s not a complete album. We had a lot of things going, there are recordings, but first things first, I think. We’re trying to focus on what’s at hand and what her family wants to do. So those reports [that a release is imminent] are false”.

He continued: “To put it all in a nutshell, Amy loved to sing, to write… that ability never left her. She was very good at channelling her emotions into lyrics, and then being able to sing them. She was in a place to go forward and make it happen… The way that Amy and I always created was she would write and we would toss ideas around”.

He added that she had “strong opinions” on any recordings they worked on, and was very particular about what she liked and didn’t like. Shortly after Winehouse’s death, Remi posted an unreleased version of ‘Some Unholy War’ from ‘Back To Black’ on his website, as an example of her perfectionism, saying he had been “broken hearted” when she’d said she didn’t like it and refused to allow him to put it on the finished album.

Also confirming that no tracks for Winehouse’s third album were complete, a source at Universal told The Guardian yesterday: “She had put down the bare bones of tracks and some were further along than others. People were getting very excited, quite frankly they were really good. We heard rough cuts and they sounded like vintage Amy”.

Although he has made no comment on the subject of unreleased material, Winehouse’s other producer, Mark Ronson, did pay tribute to her during his performance at the Greenwich Summer Sessions on Wednesday.

Ronson played a number of Winehouse’s songs in his set, saying from the stage: “It’s really lovely getting to play some music here for you tonight. That’s what makes everything better. I went to her service yesterday and there was a rabbi that spoke and he said that somebody’s life is measured in deeds and not years and that’s the best thing I heard yesterday. The genius in that woman and what she shared with us is pretty special. I’m not going to get all morbid on you. It’s just nice to be playing music to people who like good music. She is my sister, wherever she is”.

In other Winehouse news, The Sun quoted a “family source” yesterday who said they feared that the singer had died due to withdrawal symptoms after giving up drinking too quickly. As previously reported, results of a postmortem earlier this week proved inconclusive. An inquest was opened on Monday but adjourned until 26 Oct, and it may be four weeks until a cause of death can be established, while the outcome of toxicology and histology tests are awaited.