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(Credit: Matt Crockett)


Noel Gallagher's tragic warning about Amy Winehouse

Sometimes a person’s choice of words can be so pertinent that they go on to have a life of their own. Whether it be any of Nostradamus’ assertions, Mark Twain predicting the advent of the internet in 1989 or otherwise, over the years, many comments, be it predictive or off the cuff, have come hauntingly true.

This phenomenon is indicative of the significant role that chance has when defining the human experience, and that some people possess a perception that we laymen could only dream of achieving.

One figure who made such a comment was former Oasis guitarist and songwriter Noel Gallagher. The High Flying Birds mastermind has made a lot of ‘comments’ over the years, and often, he has other artists in the firing line. Dave Grohl, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z and even the Arctic Monkeys have all received their share of his opinion, be it necessary or not. Not afraid to speak his mind, Gallagher is like the old man sitting in the corner of the pub; you cross him at your own peril. What you might get from him could be fruitful, and at the very worst, a caustic dressing down.

However, Gallagher is not just the king of taking people to task, he can also be very wise, something you cannot question even if you like the man or not. Over the past few years, Gallagher has discussed with zest the state of the music industry, the condition of the world in general and, very recently, he even conceded that his brother and archnemesis, Liam, has enjoyed a more successful solo career than he. The latter must have been an extremely bitter pill to swallow. However, this shows that Gallagher’s opinion can be balanced and, that when it toes the line of impartiality, his words are worth your time. Back in the halcyon days of 2008, Gallagher made what was perhaps his most incisive comment, something that only three years later would come to fruition, much to the sadness of the world. 

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During the final days of Oasis, Gallagher added another legendary musician to his list of those he has commented on – Amy Winehouse. He told Time Out: “For some people, that level of fame can hit you really fuckin’ hard. I’m not having a go at her, but the likes of Amy Winehouse have been wiped out by that.”

Gallagher asserted that only certain types of people can handle massive success, and unsurprisingly, he ranked himself among that gilded set. Invariably walking the line between confidence and arrogance, he posited: “I’m not embarrassed by wealth or fame or stardom. It’s what I was born to do,” he stated. “Whether people would care to admit it or not, that’s fame that’s done that. Sometimes people think they’re not worthy of it, so they build a shell around themselves which cannot be penetrated.”

Whist we could spend all day talking about Gallagher’s thoughts on himself, it’s his point about the late Amy Winehouse that is the real talking point. Eerily true, to say that she was “wiped out” by fame is an understatement. Even watching her well-publicised struggles with addiction and mental health issues play out in full view of the media, I don’t think anybody expected the news to break that she had tragically passed away in July 2011.

When Amy Winehouse died, it left a void that has never been filled. A charismatic figure both on and off stage, she lives on through her iconic music and the footage that exists. Although much discourse has been released since her death, it has been regularly argued that it was fame that led to her untimely passing. Would she have passed away prematurely without fame? Probably not. However, that is a speculative assertion.

After Winehouse passed away, discussions of what immense fame does to people opened up again. They led to scores of celebrities discussing their own experiences with it, something that had long been needed. A tragic loss, and one that may have been prevented, it is hard to fathom the precision of Gallagher’s assertion.

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