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Music

Watch Amy Winehouse cover 'Stagger Lee' just months before her death

@jackwhatley89

The unrelenting talent of Amy Winehouse is clear for all to see in the iconic hits that she left behind following her sad passing in 2011. But while songs like ‘Rehab’ and ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ are musical heirlooms in waiting, it was her ability to cover other the work of other artists that put her out on her own as one of the 21st century’s finest singers.

In the clip below, Winehouse performed a rendition of ‘Stagger Lee’, a song theme made famous by Nick Cave, while performing at the Arena Anhembi Summer Soul Festival in 2011. The festival took place in São Paulo, Brazil, and saw Winehouse taking on the traditional folk song first recorded by Herb Wiedoeft. It was later a chart hit for Lloyd Price in 1959, hitting number one in the US and ranking highly as one of the greatest songs of all time.

The track is known by lots of different names, ‘Stagolee’, ‘Stackerlee’, ‘Stack O’Lee’, and many more, and remains a popular folk song based on the murder of William ‘Billy’ Lyons by the now-notorious Stagger Lee Shelton, the shooting took place on Christmas Day. Although Nick Cave didn’t cover this exact song on 1996’s Murder Ballads, he did draw on the same inspirational figures in the story.

Over its long history, the song has been covered by a host of artists such as Ike and Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett. However, despite changing hands, the song represents a cherished musical moment for America. It also represents a massive challenge for any artist, yet Amy Winehouse stands up to that task — and then some.

Performing the song flawlessly as part of the second half of her set at the festival, Winehouse hits every captivating note. The sad fact about this clip is that it’s a reminder of both Amy’s wondrous talent and her heartbreaking ending. The footage below shows Winehouse just a few short months before that moment; however when singing, it shows the diamond she was.

See the clip, below.