Honoring Amy Winehouse

On the Go

Remembering Amy: Mitch and Janis Winehouse Collins are raising funds for a charity named in their late daughter’s honor.
bob rich
Remembering Amy: Mitch and Janis Winehouse Collins are raising funds for a charity named in their late daughter’s honor.

By Masha Leon

Published September 06, 2012, issue of September 14, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Looming storm clouds did not keep 200 guests from attending the Amy Winehouse Foundation USA cocktail party, hosted by foundation board member David Hryck on August 10 at his Southampton house. In attendance were Winehouse’s parents, Janis Winehouse Collins and Mitch Winehouse, and their respective spouses. Winehouse’s parents began the foundation in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2011, on what would have been their daughter’s 28th birthday. The foundation supports music education.

A British music star with an international fan base, Winehouse died on July 23, 2011. At the event, Mitch Winehouse performed ballads and was backed up by Dominick Farinacci and his band. A guest commented, “Now I know where Amy got her voice.” Among the guests were public relations maven Catherine Saxton and sex therapist Ruth Westheimer.

I spoke to Mitch Winehouse over the phone after the event. Before his singing career took off, Winehouse worked as a taxi driver. He is still a licensed cabbie; to become a London taxi driver you need to master no fewer than 320 basic routes, 25,000 streets, and about 20,000 landmarks and places of public interest that are located within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. It takes the average person between two and four years to learn them all. “All my family members were cab drivers,” he said. “Even today, it is a wonderful job — better than a New York driver. When my father became a taxi driver in 1958, he came home and said to my mother: ‘Do you know how much I have earned today? Seven pounds.’ That’s $10. Nobody earned that much money. A bank manager earned 20 pounds a week.” He added, with a chuckle, “My mother’s response was, ‘We can eat smoked salmon today.’”

Mitch Winehouse recently wrote a book about his daughter, called, befittingly, “My Daughter.” He talked about the foundation: “In the U.K. we support childrens’ hospices, [the] homeless. We are helping to build a new children’s hospital in North London. In the U.S. we have two projects — one in New Orleans, where we have a weekend after-school program, and another at the Brooklyn Conservatory [of Music.] ”

Remembering Hal David

I first met lyricist extraordinaire Hal David — who died at 91 on September 1 — in 1983 at a Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It was the first of more than a dozen such galas I attended where Hal David was an ever-smiling heymish presence. He was introduced to me by Sammy Cahn, whom I would later interview for the Forward in 1984, and in whose name the SHOF Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award was established.

At the 2004 SHOF dinner at the Mariott Marquis, David, chairman and CEO of SHOF, received the “Towering Song Award” for his hit [with Burt Bacharach] “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” Dionne Warwick sang it that night. “The song is an expression of our soul,” David told the nearly 1000 guests. “It tells of our struggles and experiences.” That night, during our pre-award reception chat, David told me, “My father read the Forward.” At the 2009 SHOF VIP reception honoring Stephen Schwartz and recipient of the Hal David Starlight Award Jason Mraz, David warmly greeted me. “Here she comes — the Forward lady,” he said.

At the June 15, 2006, SHOF award ceremony dinner Hal David declared: “Our songs are the mirror of our lives. Songs are employed in the fight against injustice and intolerance.”

That evening Alicia Keys presented the Hal David Starlight Award to John Mayer, who won a Grammy for his 2004 song “Daughters.” Keys said: “Any man who writes a song titled ‘Daughters’ is a real man to me.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.