Back to Black (song)
|"Back to Black"|
|Single by Amy Winehouse|
|from the album Back to Black|
"Hey Little Rich Girl"
|Released||30 April 2007 (UK)
7 March 2008 (Germany)
|Format||CD single, digital download, 7" single, 12" maxi single|
|Recorded||Chung King Studios
(New York City, New York)
|Genre||R&B, jazz, soul|
|Length||4:01 (album version)
3:54 (radio edit)
|Writer(s)||Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson|
|Amy Winehouse singles chronology|
"Back to Black" is a song by English recording artist Amy Winehouse. It was released on 30 April 2007 as the title track and third single from her second studio album of the same name. "Back to Black" received universal acclaim. It was written by Winehouse and Mark Ronson and produced by Ronson. Winehouse's "Back to Black" was inspired by her relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil. Fielder-Civil had left Winehouse for an ex-girlfriend, leaving her going to "black" with drinking and depression.
"Back to Black" was written by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson and produced by Ronson. It was released as the third single of Winehouse's second studio album Back to Black on 30 April 2007 in the United Kingdom.
Music video 
The music video was directed by Phil Griffin and features a funeral procession in which Winehouse mourns over a grave that reads "R.I.P. the Heart of Amy Winehouse". The shot of the headstone was edited out after the singer's death in 2011. The video was primarily shot nearby Gibson Gardens and Chesholm Road in Stoke Newington, London. The graveyard scenes were filmed at Abney Park Cemetery nearby London. According the official Winehouse website, "Amy's sultry new video for Back In Black [sic] is both beautifully and artistically shot in black and white and compares in imagery a doomed love affair with that of a funeral." At the 2007 Music of Black Origin Awards (MOBO), the music video for the song was nominated in the category for Best Video but lost to Kanye West's "Stronger" (2007).
Critical reception 
The song has been well received by music critics. Channel 4 Music awarded the song ten stars out of ten in its review, while the Manchester Evening News rated the song as five out of five stars, commending it as "one of the best singles of the year."
Commercial performance 
Pre-release, the song charted in the UK Singles Chart on downloads alone for five consecutive weeks, peaking at number 40. The single charted at number 25 once it had been released in physical format, and has sold around 96,000 copies to date in the UK; it has spent 34 non-consecutive weeks on the UK Singles Chart to date. It has re-entered with "Rehab" together on the chart. The song featured on BBC Radio 1's The B List Playlist during the week commencing 2 May.
With sales of 96,000, "Back to Black" finished as the UK's 85th biggest-selling single of 2007.
On 31 July 2011, following her death, the song re-entered the UK Singles Chart at 8, also giving the song a new peak position and second top ten hit in UK.
A cover version of "Back to Black" by the English band The Rumble Strips appears as a B-side to their 2007 "Motorcycle" EP. On the fourth season of the UK TV talent show The X Factor, the girl group Hope covered the song during one of their live performances.
The song appeared on French singer Amanda Lear's 2009 album, Brief Encounters. The cover was also released as a single on 13 December 2012 containing three versions of the song; the album version, an acoustic version and a "Dance Amanda's Vino Della Casa Mix". The writers of the website Idolator, described her cover as "one of the strangest Amy Winehouse covers".
"Back to Black" was covered by Paije Richardson during the seventh series of the X Factor in one of the live shows.
"Back to Black" was performed by English singer Florence Welch during the VH1 Divas concert at Hammerstein Ballroom on 18 December 2011 in New York City. Welch performed the song during a tribute to Winehouse after the singer's death.
A German version was produced and sung by Ivo Lotion.
Beyoncé Knowles and André 3000 version 
- Background and development
On 1 April 2013 it was announced by E! Online that American singer Beyoncé Knowles will cover the song with André 3000 for The Great Gatsby soundtrack, set to be released on 7 May 2013. Baz Luhrmann, the director of the film revealed that "Back to Black" was the final song to be included on the album. The inclusion of the song on the album was suggested by Knowles' husband Jay-Z, who also served as an executive producer for the soundtrack. "We were looking for, 'How do we have a darker moment?' and he said have a listen to this and he played it", commented Luhrmann who, after a few spins, confirmed it should appear on the album.
On 2 April 2013, Amy Winehouse's father Mitchell Winehouse, used his Twitter profile to reveal that Knowles had not informed him of her plans to cover the song and that he wanted income from the song to go to his Amy Winehouse Foundation. He wrote, "I don't know this but what if Beyonce gave £100,000 to foundation. Do you know how many kids that would help? Just putting it out there." He later added, "Let me repeat. This is the first I have heard of Beyonce doing Amys [sic] song." Kia Makarechi of The Huffington Post noted that Knowles did not use the song as a personal record and thus it was "slightly curious" for Winehouse to request for her to pay out. Winehouse later used his Twitter account to write "I like Beyoncé's cover and have no probs." However, upon hearing the full-length track, he wrote on his Twitter profile, "I just heard the Andre part of Back to Black. Terrible. He should have let Beyonce do it all."
On 4 April 2013 a new trailer for the film featured previews of three songs from the soundtrack; a thirty-second preview of the cover of "Back to Black" was included among those songs. Upon hearing the preview, a writer of Daily Mail noted that "Beyonce's version of the song appears to be much softer and more drawn out than Amy's mournful version." Emma Ledger of the Daily Mirror commented that Knowles "has done a cracking job on the cover". Chris Payne of Billboard magazine praised the cover, which according to him was made unique with the downtempo EDM wobble. A ninety-second snippet of the song also appeared online on 21 April 2013 and was made available for streaming through iTunes Store. Upon hearing the preview, Charley Rogulewski of Vibe magazine commented, "Beyonce and Andre 3000 slow down the original version like a heroin-laced outtake off of the Trainspotting soundtrack. Instead of belting her verse out, Beyonce whispers, while Andre 3000 buzzes over a nostalgic Aquemini leaky faucet beat." A writer of Rap-Up magazine described it as a "dark and haunting collaboration" adding that it features "[André 3000] rapping his verse, while Queen B[eyoncé] burns slow with her seductive vocals." Sam Lansky of the website Idolator wrote that the cover was "a fairly sinister, gloomy affair" because of the lyrics which according to him were connected with Amy Winehouse's death and the film's noirish bent. He further commented that "it strikes us as an unusually dark side of King Bey[oncé], who's supposed to be literally the most poised human being alive". Speaking about its composition and meaning, he added, "A scratchy, bare beat and dissonant instrumentation provide a frame for Andre's tense verses before Beyonce's sultry vocals drop; the lyrics see the speaker reversed so it functions better as a duet, which is nifty but a little odd... It’s eerie but cool, and a fitting tribute to Winehouse’s legacy." The full version of the song premiered on Mark Ronson's East Village Radio show on 26 April 2013. The song opens with André 3000's verses and Knowles continues singing her part at the first minute and thirty seconds of the song.
- Critical reception
Upon its release, Ronson who co-wrote the original song, commented that it was a "wonderful take on our song" and added: "I'm flattered and honoured, I know Amy would be too." A writer of the website Consequence of Sound commented that the cover was "an intriguing take on the sultry number, featuring a soft pulse of dub underneath the syrupy sing-talk of André and breathy croon ala Marilyn Monroe/Betty Boop from Queen B." Christina Lee of the website Idolator wrote in her review of the song that it was "a gloomier take on Southern hip-hop's codeine effect", comparing it with OutKast's album Aquemini (1998) reinterpreted for modern times. Charley Rogulewski of Vibe magazine commented that the cover was "a drugged-out slow burner in comparison to the doo-wop original, which boasted Winehouse's robust vocals". C. Vernon Coleman of XXL magazine simply described it as "dope".
Usage in media 
A sample of "Back to Black" was used by screamo band Comadre in the song "Binge", which is about Amy Winehouse and the downward spiral leading to her death.
Track listings and formats 
Year-end charts 
|German Singles Chart||48|
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