Amy Winehouse didn’t want “any fucking strings” on ‘Back To Black’

The album's orchestral arranger said the singer wasn't a fan of the idea of strings on the groundbreaking record

Amy Winehouse wasn’t a fan of strings and didn’t want any on her groundbreaking 2006 album ‘Back To Black’, according to arranger Chris Elliott.

Speaking in a new interview, Elliott, who was the was in charge of orchestral arrangement on the singer’s second and final album, discussed the challenges he faced when putting together the record’s accompanying instrumentation.

Mark Ronson, Darcus [Beese, from Island Records] and Tom [Elmhirst] heard the mixes and felt there could be another colour in the tracks,” Elliott explained in the latest print issue of Uncut [via Contact Music]. “They didn’t want it to come from the same sound world as ‘Frank’.”

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“Tom mentioned strings. Amy wasn’t really a fan of the idea of strings. In fact she said very, very bluntly to [executive producer] Mark, ‘I don’t want any fucking strings on the record.'”

Opting to go with what he felt sounded best, Elliott tried to make the strings work in the context of the album – which will celebrate its 15th anniversary in October.

“I had no idea or expectation about Mark,” he said. “I threw down some quick ideas. Mark breezed in, really charming. We went through each song, twice.

“I had them in Logic and he just literally edited out a few notes. When Mark was leaving, he said, ‘Oh, by the way, before I forget – Amy really hates strings.’

I said, ‘We’ll keep it low and treme’. So low as in pitch and treme as in tremolando, which is where the strings are almost shaking or shivering. It’s a spooky kind of sound.”

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Elliott said his work on ‘Back To Black’ was influenced by film scores. “The strings went really high in the middle section of ‘Back To Back’. I’m very much a film-centric composer and love getting all the atmosphere in,” he admitted.

“When I say the strings went higher at that point, they just went to a tension – soft, but they’re there. Say if it was a movie, it would be – ‘What’s going to happen now, who’s going to come in the door?’ ”

Meanwhile, the later singer’s best friend has claimed that Winehouse and Barbara Windsor used to reenact old EastEnders scripts when the ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ star would briefly bunk off rehab stints.

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