History: The Valerie Files

Here is the wiki background story of Valerie.


No point in me trying to restate the facts of history, when I could be gathering music-video links instead.


AJW – with more than a likkle help from Ronson – took a grossly under appreciated song, made it her own, and earned The Zutons much more money than they had previously seen for their diligent creative efforts. Along the way, Valerie expanded Amy’s fan base and encouraged the newcomers to both explore the “real” Amy music and discover their own creative performing abilities.

The song means many different things to different folks. Many see it as a semi-optimistic and slightly celebratory anthem. Some, me included, see it as a pain-filled ballad that sadly – by coincidence or kismet – documents a pivotal phase in the life and times of Amy Jade Winehouse.

The song makes me smile and it makes me cry; it makes me happy and it makes me desperately sad. Often, that dichotomy brings me much more pain than it does pleasure, yet it is simply not possible for me to set the song aside and move on. Wherever Amy takes me, she always brings me back to Valerie. That may say more about my shallow and masochistic nature than about the song’s depth, but for whatever reasons, “to walk away from Valerie, I have no capacity.”

Here below is a non-comprehensive sampling of links to sundry performances of Valerie. The first section is mostly all Amy all the time. The second section contains performances by the artists that embraced Amy’s Valerie and will continue to pass her from one generation to the next.

When I first contemplated this entry, I thought I should tell readers all that I know about the “moods and circumstances” that helped form the gestalt of each performance. I could paint a picture with lots of titillating words, but such fleshed-out details could yield a book and not add any real value to the “it is what it is” tiny titles that I have given each link.


Section One: The Amy and Val Chronicles

The Inspiration



The Pure



The Manchild Serenade



The Famous



The Birthday Party Ambulance






The Pain



The Stylized



The Lollapalooza



The Festive



The Unfestive



The Tribulations



The Crushing Aftermath



The Tears



Section Two: The Past Is Always The Future

These inclusions are here not because they are all great, but because they all exist. Though I tried to pick fun ones and good ones, my daddy’s notion that it is better to be a bad artist than a great business master may remain alive and well in some of the selections.

Glee TV


Glee 3D Movie



UC Berkeley’s DeCadence



Tonal Ecstasy



On A High Note



NH Notables



Dutch Vocalicious



The Vocables



Bates College Crosstones



Mount Holyoke V8s






Victoria Justice



Wyatt and Landen



I could list DOZENS more – and as time passes there will be HUNDREDS more – but the point is made: A working-class song was transformed into a piece of music that truly captured the imaginations of young folks around the world and will likely continue to do so for many decades. The utes not only wanna listen to Valerie, they wanna sing about her out loud.

A cool likkle Brit chick made that happen; not because she was the JadeMermaid Princess, but because she was a great artist with an inclusive style and a long-burning fire in her belly that compelled her to touch and move everybody. She told you about that blaze 15-years ago, when she wrote to the headmistress at her performing arts school, in the letter I often recite and weep over:

I want to go somewhere where I’m stretched right to my limits, and perhaps beyond to singing lessons without being told to shut up. But mostly I have this dream to be very famous. To work on stage. It’s my life long ambition. I want people to hear my voice and just forget their troubles for five minutes. I want to be remembered for being an actress, a singer, for sell out concerts, sell out West-end and Broadway shows, and for being just…me.”

Right now, even as you read these words, there are young guys and gals that sit in the family home – guitar, piano and notepad at hand – and dream about delivering their art to us. AJW drew parts of a fantastic roadmap for those dreamers and Valerie helped inspire a generation to seek direction from that map. Amy’s message to those kids would be to keep singing loud – even when others tell you to shut up – and always be prepared to live the dream.


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