What did it take for Amy Winehouse to record her classic 2006 LP Back to Black? A new documentary, Amy Winehouse — Back to Black, has the answers. Featuring interviews with musicians and collaborators who contributed to the record, including Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, the film gives fans an inside glimpse at one of the most celebrated albums in recent memory.
In this exclusive clip from the film, Remi details the debate he and Winehouse had over their breakout hit “Tears Dry on Their Own.” While she was writing the lyrics and melodies for the track, Remi stumbled upon the original stems for Motown classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
“As I listened to the instrumental of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’ I heard similarities in the movement of [Amy’s] song,” he says. So he asked the singer to try recording over a sampled version of the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell track. But she was reluctant at first. “She was pissed at me,” says Remi. “[She said,] ‘You know what? I’m going to try it because it’s you, but for real this is not going to happen. This is way too fast. How can I sing it that fast?'”
In the clip, Remi plays a few of those early outtakes of Winehouse trying to transform the record into the final version fans know today. It took her a bit longer than usual to nail it. “These were rarities, as far as Amy needing to do a vocal do-over,” says Remi. “But when she finally got it right, it made all the difference in the world.”
Amy Winehouse — Back in Black will be available on DVD and to stream Nov. 2.