Tony Bennett ‘haunted’ by failure to help Amy Winehouse

Legendary crooner Tony Bennett says he’s ‘haunted’ by his failure to help troubled singer Amy Winehouse before her tragic death in 2011.

Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse
Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse

The 90-year-old star won his own battles with the bottle and drugs back in the day – and wishes he’d taken more time to explain how he defeated his demons when the pair worked on the Grammy-winning duet Body and Soul together.

Writing in his new book Just Getting Started, Tony said: “Should I have told her that I’d contended a little bit myself and knew how you can fall into a bad cycle, but I also knew that you could bring yourself back?

“Would it have made a difference if someone she considered an idol had said to her something like, ‘You’re my idol. You are a once-in-a-lifetime talent. Please don’t take that from the world’?”

However, despite his regrets, the New York-born singer says there were no signs of the turmoil we came to associate with Amy when the pair worked together at Abbey Road studios.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett/PA Photos

“Amy was engaging, funny, charming, and utterly professional but a little bit shy,” he claims. “She said she was nervous because she had never recorded a song with someone she considered to be one of her idols.”

“[She brought] just the right touch of longing [to the song], the feeling of being both captivated and a little trapped by love and desire, into each phrase.”

Amy died of alcohol poisoning aged just 27 later that year, before the record was even released. Bennett says he wept when he heard the news, for the loss of her family and the loss to music.

“She took the spirit of jazz and made it shine in new ways, for a new generation,” he continued. “She had the voice of an angel: a being that works on a plane higher than the one most of us inhabit down here.”

Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse
Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse

“Sometimes – sometimes – someone will say something that strikes home on just the right day. I said nothing on the day that I might have had a chance.”