"My tears dry on their own."
Few artists possess a voice as unforgettable and raw as the late Amy Winehouse. Deeply influenced by retro music and aesthetics, Amy Winehouse's look, attitude, and music created a connection with fans that has inspired countless tattoos.
Amy Winehouse is so tattooable not only for her retro-inspired looks, but for her distinctive place in the music industry, introducing deeply personal, contemporary hardships to old world sounds. In an era of pop music defined by theatrics like costumes, dance teams, elaborate performances, and radio-friendly hits, Amy shot to fame on the merit of her musical talents alone.
Amy was deeply influenced by artists like Frank Sinatra and the plethora of harmonic girl groups from the 1950s and 60s. Additionally, while most artists sing about their personal struggles, Amy brought darkness to the forefront, laying bare her darkest demons and making her music much more personal than universal; the uniquely confessional nature of her work combined with her retro sonic influence is perhaps another reason she is so tattooable. Songs like “Rehab” and “Tears Dry on their Own” detail Amy’s struggles with tumultuous relationships and alcohol addiction.
The emotional impact of Amy Winehouse lives on, both musically and through tattoos. In one of her top hits “Back to Black,” Amy croons, “We only said goodbye with words.” These dedicated fans featured below chose to say goodbye with ink.
Inked in the American traditional style, this portrait of Amy adorned with a quintessential rose in her big hair depicts her as a pin-up beauty. Although she struggled to appreciate her own beauty and worth, this tattoo conjures an image of Amy that is both unique and traditional. Her signature styles—heavy eyeliner, beehive hairdo, and beauty mark—pay homage to the era that inspired her music. Combining retro fashion, jazzy music, and an unforgettable voice, Amy transported her fans to a different era.
A minimalist portrait of Amy needs only the hair and eyeliner to capture her essence. Casual listeners of Amy Winehouse would be surprised to learn that the signature beehive hairstyle she wore did not enter the picture until the era surrounding her award-winning album, Back to Black. Though the beehive hair came to be synonymous with Amy herself, its presence denoted the shift in Amy’s career, beginning as a talented, relatively obscure artist, and evolving into a Grammy winning star. It’s unsurprising that stardom arrived alongside the signature look she would eventually become known for. Armed with retro fashion and jazz, Amy solidified her place in music and pop culture.
Another traditional rendition of Amy’s classic look, this wide-eyed kewpie sports each of her signature fashions. In addition to the beehive, eyeliner, and beauty mark, the kewpie also wears a rockabilly dress, gold hoops, and fishnet stockings. Fashion and pop music are inextricably linked. Fans recreate the looks they see their favorite artists wear. However, while many pop artists produce theatrical live shows, equipped with multiple costume changes and backup dancers, Amy’s performances were notably low key. Often, she performed in a white tank top and jeans — but on the occasion that she chose to lean into the pop star persona, she embraced the retro style.
Amy Winehouse herself sported some traditional tattoos. This fan recreated one of Amy’s larger pieces, the pinup girl posing on her right arm. Amy’s pin-up tattoo wears an outfit reminiscent of the 50s; a pair of hearts and the name of her paternal grandmother, Cynthia, frame the piece.
This fan’s rendition takes that very same outfit and pose but exchanges the pinup’s short haircut for Amy’s beehive and bandanna combination. Flanked with music notes and Amy in script, this recreation of one of Amy’s very own tattoos celebrates her indelible influence.
Even eight years after her passing, Amy Winehouse maintains over 8 million unique listeners each month on Spotify. The tears of her fans may have dried, but so has the ink of countless memorial tattoos celebrating the artist. Those tattoos, much like Amy’s influence, cannot be wiped away. Whether through ink or through music, Amy Winehouse's legacy will continue to thrive.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.