Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived for only 35 years, creating I some of the most incredible music during his short stay on this planet. Amy Winehouse lived for only 27 years, also creating a wealth of music, albeit quite different. In 1984, the movie Amadeus offered the public a fictionalized account of Mozart’s life based on information known to musicologists and historians. Recently, a documentary on the life of Amy Winehouse was released, simply called Amy, which, due to the availability of a large volume of videos and recordings, showed us an in-depth and personal look at her life.
I was struck by the many similarities between these two musical greats. My background is mostly in classical western music and I have a very limited relationship with pop music. I was quite familiar with the music of Mozart but only knew of Amy Winehouse from her duet recording with Tony Bennett. Tony compared her talents to those of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Besides being a fantastic jazz-pop singer, Amy was a prolific songwriter. She has six Grammy Awards, while Mozart’s music has brought in even more. Mozart and Amy Winehouse were both fairly short: Mozart was 5’4″ while Amy was 5’3″ tall. They both had fathers who pushed them hard to become successful. They both had spouses who, it seems, took advantage of their special talents. They both drank heavily, which ultimately killed them. They had their ups and downs with public opinion. Mozart was buried in a communal plot without any fanfare. Amy was the brunt of many jokes at the end of her life as a result of her often bizarre behavior. They certainly didn’t look alike and I doubt that Mozart had any tattoos or body piercings. However, they both had a huge effect on the world within their short lifespans. One can only imagine what they could’ve accomplished had they lived longer. I have always been a big fan of Mozart’s and now I can add Amy Winehouse to my list of admired artists. Oh, and yes, they both enjoyed flamboyant hairstyles.