Album: Back to Black (2006)
Charted: 7 9
Play Video


  • This song is autobiographical. Many successful musicians are haunted by their own personal demons of drink and drugs, and Winehouse is no exception. In February 2007 her father gave a candid interview to the Sun newspaper in which he denied that his daughter was an alcoholic, although he admitted that like many single women of her age she sometimes overdid the drink. On one occasion, after splitting up with her boyfriend, she fell over and hit her head.

    Her previous management company wanted her to go into rehab but she said she didn't need to. Her father agreed, adding that she wasn't an alcoholic but had been drinking too much because she was lovesick, and "You can't go into rehab for that." Alcoholics drink everyday, he said, and his daughter didn't. Hence the line: "They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • Amy Winehouse was asked by The Daily Mail on August 3, 2007 how she writes songs. Said Winehouse: "With 'Rehab' I was walking down the street with Mark Ronson, who produced my last album. I just sang the hook out loud. It was quite silly really."

    She was then asked, "Did you sing the 'no no no' bit as well?'"

    "Yeah, I sang the whole line exactly as it turned out on the record! Mark laughed and asked me who wrote it because he liked it. I told him that I'd just made it up but that it was true and he encouraged me to turn it into a song, which took me five minutes. It wasn't hard. It was about what my old management company (run by former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller) wanted me to do."
  • On August 14, 2007, Winehouse entered The Causeway Retreat, a rehab center in Essex, England, with her new husband (and fellow addict), Blake Fielder. Addiction specialists know that admitting a couple to rehab together is a bad idea, but The Causeway was not an ethical institution: it was shut down amid a host of violations in 2010.

    In the documentary Amy, Fielder is shown at the facility badgering Winehouse, putting a video camera to her face and asking her to sing "the new, updated version of 'Rehab,'" presumably making a joke out of it. She refuses.

    Winehouse did a few more stints in rehab to treat her drug and alcohol addiction, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. She was found dead in her London home on July 23, 2011.
  • This won the 2007 Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song.
  • At the 2008 Grammy awards, this won for Song Of The Year, Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record Of The Year. Winehouse also won for Best New Artist, and performed a medley of songs that were televised from London. Ronson won for producer of the year.
  • Backstage at the Grammy ceremony Mark Ronson recalled to Billboard magazine what it was like playing "Rehab" for Winehouse's A&R for the first time. "About the first 15 seconds in, he said 'Rewind, rewind!' I didn't think there would be dollar signs lighting up."
  • The lines, "I'd rather be at home with Ray" and "There's nothing you can teach me that I can't learn from Mr. Hathaway" are references to two of Winehouse's soul music inspirations: Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway. Hathaway is best known for his duets with Roberta Flack: "Where Is The Love?" and "The Closer I Get To You."
  • Winehouse's label Island Records originally didn't foresee this song's success. Island Records president Darcus Beese explained in a Genius annotation:

    "When 'Rehab' dropped it was just like a newspaper being lit. I wasn't expecting this song to be the one that did it. We wanted to come in with a cool angle. We thought putting Ghostface Killa on 'You Know I'm No Good' would be the big hit. It wasn't until people heard 'Rehab' that they really got it."
  • Winehouse was backed by they Brooklyn band The Dap-Kings on this track - longtime fan Mark Ronson hired them. The group, who typically recorded with vocalist Sharon Jones, ended up joining Winehouse on her 2007 US tour. Jones seemed to be left in the lurch, but the wave of interest in Winehouse drew attention to Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, earning them many new fans.

Comments: 25

  • Bt from New JerseyWait… she says I’d rather be home with Ray?? I would swear she sings “I’d rather be home with Blake” wouldn’t that make more sense?
  • Travler from West-by-godNot a BIG Joplin fan! Too many "Girls" to name from that era that were better vocalists and preformers......Janis just got the platform instead! Amy Winehouse was a tragedy! This "Girl" had the Chops and the Style that could have made her the Tony Bennett of the 21st Century! Now....she's just another member of the eternal "27" Club!
  • Dana from Woodbury, MnYeah, I would just like to say that a lot of people didn't read the lyrics in their entirety, just assuming that it's about not going to rehab. A lot of people missed the references to Ray Charles and 70's Soul Singer Donny Hathaway. It's partly autobiographical, but I also think there's a lot of dark, Monty Python-like humor, which I don't think necessarily translated to American audiences. One thing people overlook about Ms. Winehouse is her sense of humor. They tend to paint her as a tragic figure, which she really wasn't. She was no Kurt Cobain by any stretch of the imagination. If you knew her personally, you'd have fun hanging out with her. She was known to have cooked up some good chili. I think both John Belushi and Gilda Radner would have been some of her biggest fans. If you really think about it, she was a throwback to an earlier era, much like Brian Setzer or current country artist Miranda Lambert. I don't care who you are, when you hear her voice, you know it's her. Much like Kurt Cobain in the 1990's, she changed the course of popular music forever.
  • Lyn from Brooksville, FlOne of a kind, so much like Janis Joplins story.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlVery great song and album. So sad to hear of her death. She will always be remembered. She was a great artist!
  • Joel from Columbia, ScThey wanted me to go to rehab but I said no, no, no.
  • Lara111 from Coimbatore, IndiaIts one of the nice song.She's very talented and nice voice.
  • Tiffany from Little Rock, ArThis has become Amy's signature song and IMO a social commentary (not quite a protest song) on out-of-control celebrities instead of simply being one woman's personal troubles with the idea of rehabilitating herself when she and her father believe she's okay, just sad. This was her introduction to the US and it's stuck to her image since. Great song, but it shouldn't be *the* Amy Winehouse song. There's too many others that are brilliant.
  • Pat from Hartofrd, CtI somewhat suspect that Mr. Hathaway is not soul American soul musician Donny Hathaway, but William Shakespeare. I know it seems absurd, but William Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway. If you know how to read Shakespeare you can learn more about life than you would ever imagine. Therefore I suspect, or like to give Amy Winehouse credit for saying that she looks to the philosophy of Shakespeare for life advice than the relavist moral teachings of today.
  • Sum Sum from New Delhi, -Certainly a good song. Could have been sung more beautifully. The video is good though.
  • Robert from Sweetwater, TxThe song is a great one. But its singer is troubled.
  • Angelina from La Jolla, CaListening to the Rehab song reminded of the "oldies" on the Quadrophenia soundtrack (remember Ronnie Spector?). History and human nature has proven since time began that many of the world's most brilliantly talented individuals have been tormented by alcohol and drug addiction as well as a host of psychological disorders too numerous to mention. (Edgar Allen Poe, Jim Morrison, Charles Bukowski, etc.) However I hope this will not prove to be the case for Amy Winehouse. She is lovely and so talented.
  • Violet from Santa Barbara , CaWhoops I mean personal life.
  • Violet from Santa Barbara , CaWow, I didn't know the story behind it. Love how it just came to her, and it worked. And I love the little details about the her daddy really thought she didn't need to go to rehab. I hope she is a legend in the making, she certainly is talented enough. It's a shame she seems to have made a mess of her personally life, but musically she sure has it right. Love AMY!!!
  • Nicky from Southampton, EnglandShe's very talented.
    She is wasting her life away, shame really.
  • Allox from Qld, AustraliaShe scares me but she can really sing. I like her motown taste.
  • Amy from Baltimore, MdI like this song a lot and I think that Amy Winehouse is awesome. She sounds just as good live as she does on her record.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesShe's sure making waves in the UK now, if you live in the UK you can't get away from Amy Winehouse (or her chart "rival" Lily Allen) these days!
  • Carla from Somewhere, MiThe references to Ray and Mr Hathaway are in reference to Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway. Both who have influenced her music. She has a great talent reminisent of the musicians she references in her song.
  • Sally from Danville, KyWhat I need to know I can learn from Mr. Hataway. A sentence in the song, who is Mr. Hathaway?
  • John from Flin Flon, CanadaI'm not crazy about this song, but the rest of the album is great. Reminds me of a funkified Dusty Springfield.
  • Rohan from Johannesburg, South AfricaA GREAT song and a huge talent... too bad she's such an extremely troubled person - sadly makes one wonder if she's going to last long...
  • Krissy from Boston, MaI really dislike this song and her voice.
  • Ben from Pensacola, FlI really like the 60's sound of this song. At first I thought it was the silliest song I ever heard but it kind of grows on you. It's quite catchy and I agree Laurent, very sexy artist.
  • Laurent from Paris, FranceA great song, by a most sexy artist!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Wedding Bell Blues

Wedding Bell BluesSong Writing

When a song describes a wedding, it's rarely something to celebrate - with one big exception.

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

Jeff Trott

Jeff TrottSongwriter Interviews

Sheryl Crow's longtime songwriting partner/guitarist Jeff Trott reveals the stories behind many of the singer's hits, and what its like to be a producer for Leighton Meester and Max Gomez.

Julian Lennon

Julian LennonSongwriter Interviews

Julian tells the stories behind his hits "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes," and fills us in on his many non-musical pursuits. Also: what MTV meant to his career.

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.