Amy Winehouse’s ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ Explained

Producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi give the lowdown on Amy’s posthumous release


‘Our Day Will Come’
Ruby And The Romantics classic since embellished by Remi to form the album’s lead track
Remi: “What first impressed me with Amy was that I could show her a song today and she could spit it back out at me tomorrow like she had known it her whole life. With ‘Our Day Will Come’ it really was as simple as that.”

‘Between The Cheats’
Lush doo-wop drenched in male backing vocals, one of the few songs here earmarked for album three
Remi: “It’s such a simple line; she was talking about a relationship, what went on between the cheaters, it was her classic wordplay to link it back to between the sheets.”

‘Tears Dry’
The original demo of ‘Back To Black’ standout ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’, which Remi would later speed up
Remi: “When you listen to what’s being said – ‘All I’ll ever be to you, is a darkness that we knew, with deep regret I’ve grown accustomed to’ – this was the kind of mood that was being created. This was how she’d normally write, on an acoustic guitar at 85bpm.”

‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’
Unreleased demo version that was unearthed and given a “big John Barry arrangement” by Ronson
Ronson: “The way she turns those different phrases and melodies are so clever. She was
a jazz singer at heart so had that thing of never singing a melody the same way twice. Which used to infuriate me when I went to her concerts.”

‘Like Smoke’
Vocal part for a track that was intended for the third album, completed with a rap courtesy of Nas
Remi: “She had written more lyrics, she just didn’t get a chance to record the rest of them. I slipped it on its head and we had ideas of where we could go with it, but when we came to put together this record, this was what felt right to do with Nas.”

The original version of Amy and Mark’s Zutons cover
Ronson: “When we started the song it had a kind of ’60s Curtis Mayfield arrangement… it’s a little more jazz tempo and it’s super soulful. I still like the original version more, and when you heard her do it live it’s much closer to that arrangement.”

‘The Girl From Ipanema’
The first song that a teenage Amy sang for Remi at their first session together
Remi: “That was my introduction to her, her walking in with an acoustic guitar. Remember that in 2002 there was no Adele. So for Amy to walk in and be able to sing like that it was like, ‘Wow, this is different.’”

Amy composition that was recorded back in the ‘Frank’ sessions
Remi: “The lyric goes back to ‘halftime’, like she would be learning in music class, but she took that idea and turned it into a song for her. Now it feels like Erykah Badu or Jill Scott.”

‘Wake Up Alone’
Acoustic demo of a ‘Back To Black’ favourite recorded pre-Ronson
Remi: “Most of Amy’s songs started with a guitar and a vocal and a basic beat, if there was any beat at all. So it was really about her being able to express herself lyrically and then find the chords she wanted to use and then get it arranged after.”

‘Best Friends’
Another unreleased track from the ‘Frank’ sessions, and frequent live opener
Remi: “Once again this was her taking the piss out of her best friend. She told me that her best friend would run out of the venue when the song was being played just because she couldn’t believe that Amy was taking the piss out of her like that.”


‘Body And Soul’
Amy’s final recording, previously included on Tony Bennett’s ‘Duets II’ album
Tony Bennett (speaking shortly before Amy’s death): “Of all the contemporary artists I’ve worked with, she was the most natural jazz voice. But I’d like to talk to her, and what I’d like to say to her is very personal. I’ve also had a moment of insecurity and darkness and was able to pull out of it.”


‘A Song For You’
Recording of a Donny Hathaway classic from March 2009 in Amy’s attic in Barnet
Remi: “It was a time when I wish I’d had video cameras in my eyes so I could play it back because it was just such a moment. It was like somebody singing a song at a funeral where you’re totally overwhelmed and you’re just barely holding yourself together.”

This article originally appeared in the December 3rd issue of NME

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