Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” was the first single from her second studio album Back to Black. Written by Amy and produced by Mark Ronson, the lyrics are autobiographical, and talk about Winehouse’s refusal to enter a rehabilitation clinic. It peaked at number 7 in the United Kingdom on the UK Singles Chart and number 9 in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100.
Ronson expanded on the songwriting process when interviewed by DJ Zane Lowe for the BBC Radio documentary series Radio 1’s Stories in an episode called ‘Making It’ broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in July, 2011. He said, “I was walking down the street with Amy. We were in New York and we’d been working together for about a week and we were walking to some store. She wanted to buy a present for her boyfriend and she was telling me about a specific time in her life that was…. I feel bad, like, talking about a friend like this, but I think I’ve told this story enough times…. but she hit, like, a certain low and her dad came over to try and talk some sense into her. And she was like, ‘He tried to make me go to rehab and I was like, “Pfft, no no no”‘. And the first thing I was like, ‘ding ding ding ding ding’. Like, I mean I’m supposed to be like, ‘How was that for you?’ and all I’m like is, ‘We’ve got to go back to the studio.'”
In the lyrics Winehouse mentions “Ray” and “Mr. Hathaway”, in reference to Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway. However, for some time, she replaced “Ray” with “Blake”, referring to her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.