At this moment, it is commonly assumed that singer Amy Winehouse (1983-2011), who was arguably the finest singer the emerge in the 21st century to date, died from either a drug overdose or a lethal combination of drugs, mixed with alcohol and consumed the night before she was found dead in her London apartment. That would make perfect sense, given her notorious history of dangerous drug abuse. But since she’s famous, of course not everyone is satisfied with that explanation. No matter what happened to her, it’s a goddamn shame and a loss to humanity, but as a public service, we’ll now parse the wealth of conspiracy theories that have emerged in recent days:
*Amy Winehouse accidentally drank herself to death: At her eulogy, her father make what many regard as a spectacularly delusional claim: That Amy Winehouse had been clean of drugs for three years prior to her death, and was only working to conquer alcoholism. The woman was known to consume massive amounts of alcohol, particularly vodka, enough to easily kill a woman her size. The list of British musicians to go out that way is a long one, including Jimi Hendrix (allegedly), Bon Scott and John Bonham.
*Amy Winehouse committed suicide: Although everyone who knew her says she was in good spirits in the days prior to her death—the phrase “happier than ever” is used a lot—surface appearances can be deceiving, especially when dealing with someone who started some days by slamming vodka shots. She had just broken up with boyfriend Reg Traviss earlier in the summer; despite his great grief and his kind words of remembrance, there is no evidence of any reconciliation. Her “comeback” tour ended in boos and tears within a few minutes of her first show. The last four years were really rough for her, and one can easily see how these dual setbacks might have sent her over the edge.
*Amy Winehouse was murdered, either by her bodyguard(s) or people who were partying with her the night before she died, for unknown reasons: Official reports say that her bodyguard was the last person to see her alive, when he asked her not to play her drums so loud in the early-morning hours; he later said he heard her walking around after that. Kelly Osborne claimed to have spoken with her for nearly an hour that night, saying she seemed completely fine; it is unclear whether that conversation happened before or after she’d spoken with the bodyguard. At any rate, he found her dead hours later, twice. He saw her unconscious in bed early that morning, assumed she was sleeping, and left her room; it’s unclear at this writing whether he got close enough to confirm that she was still alive at that point. He returned a few hours later, found her unresponsive and called the authorities, who reportedly confirmed her death within five minutes of her arrival. One report said she had “signs of life” initially, but who knows what that means. Either way, the bodyguard needs a thorough interrogation, and perhaps waterboarding.
*Amy Winehouse was killed at the direction of her record label because she was worth more dead than alive: Her recordings have dominated online retail sales in the week after she died, and one can expect that if (more likely when) the new record is released, it will probably sell millions of copies and win a number of Grammy Awards, bookending a brief-but-bounteous career. It’s thus ironic that she’d delayed the long-awaited project for years, first while publicly battling her demons and failing to write new material on schedule, and then because she was yet satisfied with the finished product. She had begun her disastrous final tour before even releasing the album, which is somewhat unusual for an artist her stature; it’s unclear if her legal issues would have even allowed her to perform in theUnited States, her biggest market. Canceling the tour after the meltdown inBelgrade may have cost millions.
What gives this theory legs (well, Amy Winehouse-sized legs) is that is has some basis in history. Courts are still working to establish exactly how and why Michael Jackson was given a fatal drug combination, either by his doctor, himself or some unknown other person. And evidence is slowly accumulating to support the theory that Hendrix’s death was engineered by his then-manager, the villainous Mike Jeffrey, who feared Hendrix was soon to fire him and who himself died in a shady plane crash just three years later.
*Amy Winehouse was deliberately given bad drugs: Anonymous friends of Winehouse reported seeing her buy cocaine, ecstasy and/or heroin from someone the night before she died, and speculated that bad ecstasy was the culprit. One presumes the London Metropolitan Police have made all efforts to indentify said dealer and roust him about sufficient to confirm or deny those theories, but nothing has been said publicly yet. Winehouse was an experienced drug user with a massive tolerance, but may have displayed the kind of carelessness that often comes with addiction, not taking much care to scrutinize her drugs or the people she got them from. But still, if you’re a drug dealer, and you’ve got a customer who’s worth millions and really likes drugs, it makes no sense to give them anything but the best. Then again, people can be malicious and stupid in spades; it’s not unthinkable that someone would poison Amy Winehouse just for shits and giggles, or to exact revenge against her or someone close to her. Things like that happen all the time.
*Amy Winehouse was killed to manipulate public opinion on the Drug War: A common conspiracist view of celebrity death, one that is not entirely absurd. We are all now familiar with the lengths to which governments will go to manipulate public opinion, and the British are, well, the British. Winehouse’s death brings the issue of drug abuse and addiction to the forefront of public debate. Her father reportedly noted in his eulogy that drug addicts in theUK must face a two-year-long waiting list for rehab treatments, unless they can afford the private clinics his daughter made such famous use of. For the singer of “Rehab” to die just weeks after checking out of one of the finest such facilities in the world looks bad for the whole industry.
*Amy Winehouse was killed by Casey Anthony, perhaps by accident: Maybe she switched-out Winehouse’s vodka for chloroform? The woman has not been seen since she was released from jail in late July, and some feel that she is capable of anything. If there is anyone in the world who might be sympathetic to a young woman who’s been verbally assaulted by commercial media for years, it would be Amy Winehouse. Anthony could probably not walk 1,000 feet in any direction, anywhere inAmerica, without being spat on, beaten or killed outright, so a foreign destination would make sense. My guess, of course, would beMexico; Casey Anthony would probably make a damn good gun moll for some media-savvy cartel boss. That would be epic.
*Amy Winehouse was killed to distract people in advance of another major terrorist attack in the US or Britain: The possibility of such attacks have been teased almost steadily for years, but reached a new peak following the death of Osama bin Laden; it was suggested that the announcement of such would serve as the trigger for terror cells already planted at strategic places in the West. So far, the only thing that’s happened was the atrocity committed against the people ofNorway, which at present shows no outward indication of being connected to al-Qaeda or any known affiliates. Which leads to an extended discussion of this, perhaps the most controversial and convoluted concept of them all:
*The death of Amy Winehouse is somehow connected to the terrorist attacks in Norway, which occurred the day before she died: This is an interesting theory, and not just because I made it up myself for sport. It links easily to many of the other possibilities raised elsewhere. Like all of us, she presumably found out about the attacks on the news; it dominated the BBC for most of her last 48 hours on Earth. Even the most cynical viewer would be sickened, seeing the aftermath of a mass-murder of children on a steady loop, and someone as sensitive as her might have taken it even worse. Maybe she partied even harder to distract herself from those scenes of horror.
But there’s a more unsavory aspect to this theory: What are the odds that her death is directly related? It’s now emerging that suspect Anders Brevik has connections toBritain, where he claims to have been recruited into some shady cabal in 2002. It is unclear when he was last there, but he claims to have been planning the attacks for nine years, even renting a farm in order to stockpile weapons, explosives and the fertilizer used to build the truck-bomb that rockedOslo. He claimed that there were many others connected with his movement, and that other attacks were in the works. Did Anders Brevik ever meet Amy Winehouse? Was she acquainted with any of the Britons who collaborated with Brevik? We will never know.
*Amy Winehouse died of natural causes as yet unexplained: Probably the most unlikely scenario of them all, which speaks to how hard she rolled, but possible. Initial autopsies were inconclusive; had she been murdered, suffered a heart attack or stroke, etc., that would have been revealed immediately. Toxicology reports are not available at this writing, but the intense public interest in Ms. Winehouse’s demise ensures a speedy yet thorough turnaround. Her father claimed she suffered from emphysema due to heavy smoking of crack and/or meth and/or tobacco. She may have suffocated herself during the kind of deep, frenetic sleep that follows a lot of partying; other media suggest that she may have suffered a seizure, possibly delirium tremens.
*We will never know exactly why Amy Winehouse died: An Ambiguous ending to a life that, to many people, just didn’t make any sense. She would have thus share yet another link to the great Robert Johnson, a pioneer of the Delta Blues and one of the most influential musicians in all of history, whose suspicious death (commonly thought to be retaliatory poisoning) inaugurated what has now become known as the “27 Club”. If the toxicology reports don’t reveal anything conclusive, it’s likely the trail will go stone-cold; Winehouse was cremated immediately after her funeral. Rest In Peace!
email@example.com; July 27, 2011