Ronson, meanwhile, was a sponge of music knowledge after his days as a New York City club DJ. With Dusty Springfield just a part of his lengthy playlist, Ronson blended East Coast soul and hip-hop with U.K. rock and soul to produce the distinct tech funk swager of Nikka Costa's album Everybody Got Their Something in 2000. When he used connections with the Hilfiger brand to get Costa's track Like A Feather into commercials later that same year, he took blue-eyed soul straight to the American consumer's shopping center.
U.S. listeners were finally ready to pick up what Dusty and her young cohorts were putting down. As Ronson worked with soul artist Macy Gray on her 2003 release The Trouble With Being Myself and hip-hop notables Mos Def, Nate Dogg and Ghostface Killah on his own record, a young woman named Amy Winehouse was taking her love of Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn and '60s girl groups into the studio. Her first album, 2003's Frank, had potential but was a bit too jazz-heavy and label-polluted for the pompadoured Winehouse's liking.When she and Ronson teamed up for her follow-up, Back To Black, she and Ronson agreed to ditch Frank's stiffer sound for a little bit of soul. They brought in soul singer Sharon Jones' band The Dap Kings in for backing vocals, lifted the backing from Ain't No Mountain High Enough for Tears Dry On Their Own and turned Winehouse's dark and ultimately fatal back story into her greatest strength. On the back of the irresistibly catchy Rehab, Winehouse took home Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2008 Grammys while Ronson won Producer of the Year honors for his efforts. Though Winehouse would record only a handful of songs and covers before her untimely death last year, she, Ronson and Rehab captured Springfield's soul and spirit while turning her sound into a template.