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Tori Amos

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Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos) was one of several female singer/songwriters who combined the stark, lyrical attack of alternative rock with a distinctly '70s musical approach, creating music that fell between the orchestrated meditations of Kate Bush and the stripped-down poetics of Joni Mitchell. In addition, she revived the singer/songwriter traditions of the '70s while re-establishing the piano as a rock & roll instrument. With her 1992 album Little Earthquakes, Amos built a dedicated following that expanded with her second album, Under the Pink, before giving way to a decade-spanning legacy. The daughter of a Methodist preacher, Amos was born in North Carolina but raised in Maryland. She began singing and playing piano in the church choir at the age of four, and songwriting followed shortly afterward. Amos proved to be a quick learner, and her instrumental prowess earned her a scholarship to the preparatory school at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory. While studying at Peabody, she became infatuated with rock & roll, particularly the music of Led Zeppelin. She lost her scholarship at the age of 11 -- quite possibly due to her interest in popular music -- but continued writing songs nevertheless, eventually moving to Los Angeles in her late teens to become a pop singer. Atlantic Records signed her in 1987, and Amos recorded an uninspired pop-metal album called Y Kant Tori Read the following year. The record was a complete failure, attracting no attention from radio or press and selling very few copies; nevertheless, she didn't lose her record contract. By 1990, Amos had adopted a new approach, singing spare, haunting, semi-confessional piano ballads that were arranged like Kate Bush but had the melodies and lyrical approach of Joni Mitchell. Atlantic sponsored a trip to England in 1991, where she played a series of concerts in support of an EP, Me and a Gun. The harrowing "Me and a Gun" was an autobiographical song, telling the tale of Amos' own experience with rape. It gained positive reviews throughout the media, and both the EP and the supporting concerts sold well. Little Earthquakes, Amos' first album as a singer/songwriter, was released in 1992 and fared well in both the U.S. and the U.K. The same year, she released the Crucify EP, which featured cover songs like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Led Zeppelin's "Thank You." Delivered in early 1994, Under the Pink, the proper follow-up to Little Earthquakes, was an even bigger hit, selling over a million copies and launching the minor hit singles "God" and "Cornflake Girl." Two years later, Amos delivered her third album, Boys for Pele, her most ambitious and difficult record to date. The album debuted at number two and quickly went platinum. Amos spent much of 1997 dealing with personal matters, including a miscarriage and a marriage. She also worked on her fourth album, From the Choirgirl Hotel, which was released in the spring of 1998. The two-disc To Venus and Back followed in 1999 to coincide with a tour with Alanis Morissette. In 2001, Amos returned with the covers album Strange Little Girls, which also marked her last release for Atlantic. The next year, she found a new label home with Epic and followed with Scarlet's Walk in October. Her eighth studio album, an autobiographical record titled The Beekeeper, was released in 2005. The massive five-disc Piano collection arrived in 2006, boasting a cornucopia of album cuts, B-sides, unedited and alternate versions, demos, and seven previously unissued tracks, followed by the typically eclectic and hard-rocking American Doll Posse in 2007, an all-new collection of songs that found the artist assuming five archetypal personalities, all of whom were based on feminine gods in Greek and Roman mythology. As she toured in support of the album, Amos released live digital recordings of each concert as part of the Legs and Boots concert series, which grew to encompass 27 albums. Although each release was made available, Amos also released a "best-of" Legs and Boots compilation in March 2009, having created its track list from various recordings during the tour. Meanwhile, she also focused on new material that had been written during the tour, which she soon compiled into her tenth studio album. Entitled Abnormally Attracted to Sin, the album was released in May 2009 by Universal Republic, Amos' new record label. A holiday album, Midwinter Graces, followed closely behind, appearing before the end of 2009 and garnering warm reviews. In the summer of 2011, Amos began touring in advance of her next album, the classically based song cycle Night of Hunters. A conceptual work based on familiar motifs by composers Satie, Chopin, Schubert, and Bach, Amos' recording centered on a couple torn apart by life's difficulties and monotonies, and the female protagonist's journey to find wholeness within herself. Amos collaborated on the recording with the string quartet Apollon Musagete, arranger John Philip Shenale, and clarinetist Ernst Ottensamer. Night of Hunters was released by the classical label Deutsche Grammophon in September of 2011; it peaked at 24 on the Billboard 200. Amos' next move was to re-record some of her songs, newly arranged by John Philip Shenale with the Metropole Orchestra. The resulting set, called Gold Dust, appeared almost exactly a year after Night of Hunters; it debuted at 63 on the Billboard 200. In 2013, after several years in gestation, the musical The Light Princess, based on the fairy tale by Scottish seminal fantasy writer George MacDonald and with music and lyrics by Amos, premiered at the National Theatre in London to wild critical acclaim and was nominated for best musical in the prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The following year, Amos announced her return to pop with her 14th studio album, Unrepentant Geraldines. Heavily inspired by her love of fine art, the album appeared in early May 2014. A year later, the official cast recording of The Light Princess was released. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Albums by
Tori Amos

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    29 songs

    On Air

    Little Earthquakes

    27 songs

    On Air

    Under the Pink [Deluxe Edition]

    14 songs

    On Air

    Unrepentant Geraldines

    12 songs

    On Air

    Under the Pink

    14 songs

    On Air

    Gold Dust

    14 songs

    On Air

    Night of Hunters

    12 songs

    On Air

    Midwinter Graces

    17 songs

    On Air

    Abnormally Attracted to Sin

    15 songs

    On Air

    Legs and Boots: Chicago, IL - November 5, 2007

    23 songs

    On Air

    American Doll Posse

    19 songs

    On Air

    Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL 4/15/05

    11 songs

    On Air

    Royce Hall Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA 4/25/05

    19 songs

    On Air

    The Beekeeper

    18 songs

    On Air

    Scarlet's Walk

    12 songs

    On Air

    Strange Little Girls

    24 songs

    On Air

    To Venus and Back

    12 songs

    On Air

    From the Choirgirl Hotel

    18 songs

    On Air

    Boys for Pele

    12 songs

    On Air

    Under the Pink

    12 songs

    On Air

    Little Earthquakes

    4 songs

    On Air

    Flavor

    14 songs

    On Air

    Midwinter Graces

    1 song

    On Air

    Trouble's Lament

    1 song

    On Air

    Sleeps with Butterflies

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Top Songs by
Tori Amos

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Cornflake Girl
  3.   Silent All These Years
  4.   Winter
  5.   Thank You
  6.   A Sorta Fairytale
  7.   God
  8.   Crucify
  9.   Smells Like Teen Spirit
  10.   Welcome to England
  11.   Night of Hunters
  12.   Snow Cherries from France
  13.   Girl
  14.   Digital Ghost
  15.   Professional Widow
  16.   Playboy Mommy
  17.   Angie
  18.   Mother
  19.   Flavor
  20.   Precious Things
  21.   Hey Jupiter
  22.   Caught a Lite Sneeze
  23.   Bells for Her
  24.   Enjoy the Silence
  25.   Talula
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Tori Amos

    On Air

    Ladies That Rock

    On Air

    The 44 Biggest Remixes of All Time

    On Air

    66 Greatest Gen X Songs

    On Air

    Mother's Day

    On Air

    Sara Bareilles: I Am The DJ