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Amy Winehouse's hit song Valerie was based upon a real person

Ellis Cochrane

| Last updated 

Amy Winehouse's hit song Valerie was based upon a real person

One of Amy Winehouse’s most popular songs is ‘Valerie’, with the 2006 hit proving to be a fan favourite. But did you know it's actually about a real person?


There's loads of theories as to what - or who - the song is about, but now we finally have an answer, as the real Valerie has been tracked down.

Not many people know Winehouse's song was actually a cover originally written and performed by British band The Zutons.


A certain Valerie – Valerie Star, a celebrity makeup artist based in New York – revealed that she used to date the frontman of the band, Dave McCabe and said the song is in fact about her.

Speaking to Vice, McCabe confirmed this by saying: “Oh yeah, that’s her.”

“She was in the States and I was home and it was kind of like a postcard,” he added.

McCabe even went on to divulge exactly what inspired the narrative of the song. From Star almost going to jail after several driving offences – do you remember Winehouse asking, ‘do you need a good lawyer-er-er?’ – which prevented her from coming to the UK. And that’s why she couldn’t ‘come on over’ on the track.


The song really hit the big time when Mark Ronson and Winehouse got involved, however, the song’s inspiration was also happy to speak about her connection to the hit track.

The inspiration behind the famous songs. Image Credit: Valerie Star
The inspiration behind the famous songs. Image Credit: Valerie Star

“I remember when he told me about the song. It was like, “I kind of wrote a song about you. And they picked it up as a single.” And he wouldn’t tell me any details. He was really super shy about it. And I was thinking to myself, oh dear god Valerie, what does this song sound like?” Star admitted.

The pair originally met at a show in Florida, where The Zutons were the opening act.


“They had such a unique sound and I hadn’t heard anything like that before. Just the electricity they made on stage together as a band was just beautiful,” Star says.

“One drink turned into god knows how many. A lot. We didn’t stay. We all went to another bar. And then another. And then we all went back to Erin’s place and drank champagne on the rooftop until the sun came up. And that was our first meeting,” she added.

Imagine if they’d never met that fateful evening!

When asked if she had a favourite line from the song, she liked the part where he called out her ‘ginger’ red hair.

Valerie was originally by The Zutons. Credit: Sony
Valerie was originally by The Zutons. Credit: Sony

Star goes on to say: “I used to dress really ridiculous back then too, per that line (“I’ve missed your ginger hair / and the way you like to dress”).”

It broke Star’s heart to see the song become a huge hit at the same time Winehouse was struggling with addiction.

“She was a brilliant artist. She was beyond her time. It’s so sad and tragic, in so many aspects. Like even the video—she couldn’t be in it because she was in her world,” she said.


Even though you’ll probably be singing along to the song in your head as you read this, Star doesn’t have the song on her playlist.

“Not that it’s narcissistic but I feel like it would come up at the most awkward times. Like, hey, just listening to a song about myself—don’t mind me.

Don’t mind us, we’re just going to play both versions right now...

Featured Image Credit: Radharc Images / Alamy Stock Photo/Atlaspix / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Music

Ellis Cochrane
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