WinehouseDissatisfied by her first record Frank (which she felt had been compromised by the commercial ambitions of her record company), Amy Winehouse finally found a sympathetic producer and arranger for her next (and sadly final) album Back to Black. Mark Ronson shared her love of 1960s soul and jazz. For “Love is a Losing Game”, which achieved classic song status almost instantaneously, Ronson rather nervously came up with an orchestral arrangement, including strings, that might not have gone down well with the famously volatile Winehouse. At the first mixing session in London’s Metropolis Studios, Ronson recalled in an interview: “She had her head down on the mixing board, so I couldn’t see her reaction. I’m freaking out [but] at the end of it she looks up and walks over, extends her arms and gives me a huge hug. ‘I love it. Just take the harp off after the second verse. It sounds like some Mariah Carey bullshit.’” The arrangement keeps in the background and doesn’t get in the way of the powerful and controlled vocal performance, or the artfully simple but bleak and uncompromisingly direct lyrics:

Love is a losing game
One I wish I’d never played
Oh what a mess we made
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game.