Valerie Amy Winehouse
Now that your knowledge of theory is starting to get stronger, we’ll use “Valerie” to explore some slightly more challenging harmonic ideas including major, minor, and augmented intervals, as well as more specific types of chord function. You’ll then see how you can use these concepts to bring a little extra harmonic goodness into your creative work.
“Valerie” was recorded by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse on Ronson’s album, Version. The song was written by English indie rock band The Zutons on their 2nd studio album Tired of Hanging Around, in 2006 and gave the Liverpool band their breakthrough. The song has been covered by the Glee Cast, One Direction, Panic! at the Disco, and Bruno Mars.
The song was named for a friend who had been caught driving drunk. The Zuton’s drummer, Sean Payne, called it a “musical postcard to her, saying he’s having a hard time and can she come over and see him.” Lead singer McCabe wrote it in a taxi on the way to visit his mother. “The whole song was written before I got there,” said McCabe. “So 20 minutes, max.”
Winehouse suggested the song to Ronson while they were working on Version. Ronson based the production on a beat from the Jam’s “A Town Called Malice”. Winehouse also recorded a jazzier, acoustic version for ‘Radio 1’s Live Lounge’ released about the same time as the Ronson collaboration. It was the Ronson version that got the airplay and the song peaked at number two in the UK.