“A Song For You”
Salaam Remi: “The last track is a song by Leon Russell, ‘A Song For You,’ which was also sung and made popular by Donny Hathaway, who Amy was a huge fan of.
“So in March of 2009, after our first, shorter St. Lucia trip, Amy decided that, you know what? Maybe we should put some equipment back in this new house she had just got in the English suburb Barnet.
“It was kind of like a thing where she wanted to be in London but get away from the paparazzi that would chase her around all the time, and not have to worry about all those things, and be in a comfortable space. Cause she was used to—at least with me, she was accustomed to recording in my house in Miami, we would be alone, it was kind of like away from everything and she would be able to express herself.
As she was singing the song, she began to weep... It was a moment where I wish I could have videotaped what my eyes were seeing. As she finished she sat in my lap and cried.
“So on the day when myself and my engineer arrived, Amy said, ‘Hey the studio is in the attic.’ Actually it was in two places, outside in the back in the guest house and in the attic. And she was like, ‘Out there is cool but in the attic is nice.’
“So we went up to the attic, all the way in the top of her house, and she had like a Wurlitzer set up, and a drum kit, and a bunch of couches and bean bags. Kind of like a hang-out room. And the first thing she did was say, ‘Hey, you know what? I wanna sing some Hathaway.’
“She was going to look for ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ tabs, but she pulled out the guitar and said, ‘Hey, you know what? Um….’ and she just started singing ‘A Song For You.’ So I looked at my engineer and realized that he’s already pressed record.
“So this is the equivalent of something you would hear in the ‘70s where somebody just has a tape recording where they’re just sitting down and playing something. And you’re listening, like, ‘Oh wow.’ So I’m sitting in the attic of the house and she’s barefoot with some shorts on—just chilling—and starts singing and playing ‘I’ve been so many places in my life and time…’
"And she went through and sang the song, but as she was singing the song, and learning the chords, and putting it all down, she began to weep and be emotional. Because the lyrics of the song, you know, ‘Acted out my love on stages with 10,000 people watching,’ etc, and ‘We’re alone now,’ it refers to death.
“It was just a moment where I felt like I wish I could have videotaped what my eyes were seeing. I was just watching and as she finished she sat in my lap and cried for a second and then got up and made a comment regarding Donny Hathaway. Then we went on to doing other stuff.
“But this is the vocal from that moment that I edited back into being the track that it is. And I felt like it was something dear to her as far as her feelings. So Amy Winehouse, ‘A Song For You.’