OK, Amy Winehouse is admittedly a regular in this column. Much like she is a regular at her local pub. We've frankly even considered changing this blog's title to That's Really Amy or Amy's Really Week, or whatever. But this week in Winehousiness is enough to drive any of us to drink, because there's so much for us to keep up with regarding all things Amy. Things are in fact looking so dark for the Back To Black singer these days, she's snagged the #2, 3, and 4 spots on our Top Stories chart this week. That's probably one chart Amy didn't want to top, but let's get to all the gory details anyway...
Amy's weird and woeful week began most inauspiciously when the website for British tabloid News Of The World posted a viral video, allegedly shot during her May 2007 honeymoon, of Amy and her husband Blake Fielder-Civil (with whom she's pictured above) hanging out in a reputed "drug den" and warbling an extremely offensive, racist song. The video reportedly depicts the infamous couple musically slandering people of all colors, sexual orientations, and persuasions--even the disabled!--and might be damning enough to ruin Amy's career (or whatever is left of her career). "I don't want to play anything down, but I'm the least racist person going," Amy told paparazzi after this video leak, but the damage has been done. And considering that Amy recently signed on to perform at Nelson Mandela's upcoming 90th birthday concert, the timing of this shocking footage is especially bad.
So then Amy's beloved hubby--the man known since her February Grammy speech as "Blake Incarcerated"--pleaded guilty to charges of committing grievous bodily harm and conspiring to pervert the course of justice (the latter is just a lascivious-sounding term for "witness tampering"). Blake has already been in lockup for seven months, and now he faces years in prison: Up to five years for the assault charge, and a maximum life sentence for the "perversion of justice" count. Uh-oh. Amy may want to consider hiding a file in her gigantic bouffant next time she visits Blake Incarcerated, because that may be her only realistic hope of getting Mr. Winehouse out of the big house any time soon.
And then, on Thursday, London police charged accused narcotics dealers John Blagrove and Cara Burton with supplying their star client Amy with drugs, specifically cocaine and Ecstasy.(These two are also under suspicion for supplying drugs to Peaches Geldof, the troubled daughter of pop-music do-gooder Bob Geldof.) These charges stemmed from another viral Amy video, published on the website for U.K. paper The Sun earlier this year, in which Amy appeared to be inhaling from a very suspicious-looking pipe. Oddly, Amy was already questioned--but NOT charged--last month regarding that particular incident. So we guess she at least has that to be grateful for. It could be worse. But not much worse...
FYI, Amy is scheduled to perform a classy gig next week in Moscow, at the gala opening of an art gallery run by Daria Zhukova, the girlfriend of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. That's probably a good thing, since this woman obviously needs some highbrow culture in her life right now. And it turns out the gallery will be held in an old, refurbished bus station out the outskirts of the city, so we have a feeling Amy will actually feel right at home.
All right, that's enough Amy. For now. Other stuff happened this week too, you know. R. Kelly--another controversial figure who, like Amy, frequently surfaces in this column and in the courtroom--also made news this week, as his trial wrapped up in Chicago. This week Kelly actually spoke in court for the first, only, and probably last time, when he told Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan: "I decided not to testify." Wow, for a guy who recorded a whopping TWENTY-TWO chapters of his hip-hopera "Trapped In the Closet," it's unlike Kelly to suddenly be at such a loss for words. But apparently it was a strategy that paid off, as Kelly was surprisingly acquitted this week. He ought to dedicate his song "U Saved Me" to his laywer right about now.
Other urban music stars in legal wranglings this week were "Regulate" rapper Warren G, who was arrested for marijuana possession but later had his charges dropped; gangsta rapper Coolio, who was nabbed for driving with suspended license; and 50 Cent, who was ordered by State Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead not to sell the property where a suspicious May 30 fire took place. And in lighter hip-hop legal news, the artist sometimes legally known as Sean Combs underwent yet another name change this week. Or, more like a name reversion. Yes, the hip-hop mogul who's metamorphosed over the years from Puffy to Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to just plain Diddy is now supposedly going back the old school, and is reclaiming the nickname Puff Daddy--a moniker he hasn't used in seven years. This is probably good news to London-based music producer Richard "Diddy" Dearlove, who recently legally prevented Combs from going by the name "Diddy" in the U.K.
In other happy U.K. news (as opposed to, say, Amy U.K. news), this week the Foo Fighters were joined onstage at London's Wembley Stadium by two-thirds of the surviving members of Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones), tearing through Zep classics "Rock 'N' Roll" and "Ramble On." The Foos' Dave Grohl, who once generously volunteered his drumming services for Zeppelin's December 2007 London reunion show, glowingly described this event as "the best day of my life!" And many of Wembley's 87,000 attending audience members were probably thinking the very same thing.
And thus concludes another confusing, bemusing, and occasionally amusing (or more like Amy-using) week in music news. Come back next Friday for more updates (hopefully Amy and R. Kelly will lay low next week, thus freeing up more pixel space for other headline-makers). Until then, goodnight, and good music.
THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES:
1) R. Kelly Acquitted - Jurors in his trial reach a not-guilty verdict in record time.
2) Dealers To Stars, Behind Bars - Drug dealers are charged with supplying narcotics to Amy Winehouse and Peaches Geldof.
3) Mr. Winehouse In The Big House - Amy's husband pleads guilty, faces years in prison.
4) No, No, No! - A racist viral video shocks Amy Winehouse's fans.
5) The Artist Formerly Known As Diddy - Sean Combs is calling himself "Puff Daddy" again.
6) Foo Fighters Ramble On - Dave Grohl rocks with Led Zeppelin members onstage in London.
7) For Those About To Shop, We Salute You - AC/DC sign a deal with Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart.
8) Madonna's Brother Lives To Tell - Christopher Ciccone is penning a memoir about his famous big sister.
9) Bonnaroo Kicks Off - The festival fun begins in Tennessee with Pearl Jam, Kanye West, Metallica, et al.
10) Liar, Liar, House On Fire? - 50 Cent's house fire case looks increasingly suspicious.
11) Coolio's Not So Fantastic Voyage - The rapper is arrested for driving with a suspended license.
12) Boy George's Trashy Show - The ex-Culture Club diva is planning a free concert for New York City's sanitation workers.
13) Rock Me Up Before You Go Go - George Michael announces his "last ever" arena gigs.
14) Wayne's World - Lil' Wayne sells 423,000 albums...in ONE DAY.
15) Warren G Regulated - He is arrested, and eventually released, on pot-possession charges.