Mark Ronson breaks down Amy Winehouse’s Black to Black demo in Pro Tools: “I just had basic plugins”

When BBC Maestro announced that Mark Ronson had created a music production course for the platform, one of the things that was promised was a breakdown of Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, the title track from her classic 2006 album.

Well, the good news is that even those who don’t want to stump up the £80 course fee can now watch this, as it’s been posted on YouTube.

The video sees Ronson back in the New York studio where he met Winehouse and they wrote Back To Black together. In fact, he returns to the original demo project in Pro Tools, showing how he used reverb and distortion plugins to create the dusty piano and drum sounds, before Winehouse added her vocal over the top.

“I just had basic plugins,” Ronson confirms, adding that “A little bit of spring or plate reverb goes a very long way”. He also unmutes a previously unheard guitar part that Winehouse recorded, but wasn’t included on the finished version of the song.

You can purchase the full Mark Ronson music production course on the BBC Maestro website. This includes 18 lessons and covers songwriting, recording, and other essential production skills.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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