Meaning of Rehab by Amy Winehouse & Lyrics

Alcohol and drugs are present to some extent in the lives of most popular musicians. They literally drive some stars to the grave, not allowing them to live to adulthood. If not for such excesses, it is unlikely that we would ever know about the infamous list, which is commonly called the “27 Club”. Amy Winehouse was one of the last to join. In July 2011, the brilliant British singer died of a heart attack due to alcohol poisoning.

Friends and even the management of the record company urged Amy to go to a rehabilitation center, but she categorically rejected their proposals. All dependent people find excuses for their addictions. Winehouse also did not consider herself an alcoholic or drug addict and claimed that she was drinking because of problems on the personal front. In addition, the father, whose opinion she listened to, was not persistent in this matter.

Once the producers managed to get her to visit the clinic, but she stayed there for fifteen minutes. Shortly thereafter, the singer moved to another label, where she began collaborating with Mark Ronson. He was present at the birth of the composition “Rehab” (“Rehabilitation”), which can be considered autobiographical.

First, an excerpt from an interview with Amy, in which she talked about the history of the song:

In the case of Rehab, I was walking down the street with Mark Ronson, the producer of my latest album. And I just hummed the hook out loud. Actually, it was pretty stupid… I sang the whole line exactly as it appeared on the recording! Mark laughed and asked who wrote it because he liked it. I replied that I had just thought of everything … He convinced me to make a song out of this, which took about five minutes. It wasn’t difficult at all! It is about what my former management company wanted from me.

The Daily Mail, 2007

And now a word to Mark Ronson:

I was walking down the street with Amy. We were in New York, working together for about a week and heading to some store. She wanted to buy a gift for her boyfriend and told me about a special period in her life that was… I don’t like to talk about my friend like that, but it seems that I have told this story many times… She, one might say, went down, and her dad came to try and reason with her. And she said something like: “He tried to get me to go to rehab, and I told him:“ Pfft, no, no, no. And I immediately heard a bell in my head: “Ding-ding, ding-ding-ding.” Like, I probably should have asked, “How did you feel about that?” but I just said, “We’re going back to the studio.”

BBC Radio 1, 2011

Approximately the same story is told by the father of Amy Winehouse in the book “Amy, My Daughter”. True, according to his version, the singer composed the key line in a few years of that walk with Ronson and was waiting for an opportunity to use it in the composition.

In October 2006 “Rehab” was released as the first single from the album “Back to Black”. She climbed high on the charts in many countries. The song peaked at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart.

Subsequently, the song was awarded three Grammys and several other prestigious awards. It has also been included in various top songs rankings, including the Top 500 by Rolling Stone.

The music video for “Rehab” was directed by Phil Griffin. The video was nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007, but lost out in the Video of the Year nomination to the video for the track “Umbrella” by Rihanna.

Interesting Facts

  • The “no-no-no” line is reminiscent of “go-go-go” from Slim Gaillard’s “Thunderbird”.
  • While performing “Rehab” on The David Letterman Show, Amy changed the name “Ray” to “Blake” in reference to her ex-husband.

Rehab lyrics by Amy Winehouse

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, “no, no, no”
Yes, I’ve been black
But when I come back
You’ll know, know, know
I ain’t got the time
And if my daddy thinks I’m fine
He’s tried to make me go to rehab
I won’t go, go, go
I said no no no
Yes, I had a black streak
But when I get out
You will understand, you will understand, you will understand
I don’t have time for this
And if my dad thinks I’m fine
Although he tried to send me to the clinic,
I won’t go, won’t go, won’t go I’d rather be at home with a Ray
I ain’t got seventy days
‘Cause there’s nothing, there’s nothing you can teach me
That I can’t learn from Mr. Hathaway
I didn’t get a lot in class
But I know we don’t come in a shot glass
I have no extra seventy days
‘Cause you won’t teach me nothing, nothing
What can I take from Mr. Hathaway
I didn’t learn much in class
But I understand that a glass of knowledge will not add The man said, “why do you think you here?”
I said, “I got no idea.”
I’m gonna, I’m gonna lose my baby
So I always keep a bottle near
He said, “I just think you’re depressed.”
This, me, yeah, baby, and the rest
I replied: “I have no idea”
I was left without my baby
That’s why I always keep a bottle on hand.
He said “I think you’re just depressed”
Yeah buddy and that too They tried to make me go to rehab
But I said, “no, no, no”
Yes, I’ve been black
But when I come back
You’ll know, know, know
I don’t ever want to drink again
I just, oh, I just need a friend
I’m not gonna spend ten weeks
Have everyone think I’m on the mend
And it’s not just my pride
It’s just till these tears have dried
I said no no no
Yes, I had a black streak
But when I get out
You will understand, you will understand, you will understand
I don’t want to drink anymore
I just need a friend
But I’m not going to be here for ten weeks
Let everyone know that I’m already better
And it’s not just pride
It’s just that these tears have already dried

  • American musician Ray Charles
  • American musician Donny Hathaway
  • Apparently, this refers to Amy’s ex-lover

Song quote

It took a long time for everyone to realize just how serious Rehab was. She said no and died five years later.

Nick Szymanski, Independent

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