Released January 13, 1992 (UK)
Released February 1992 (US)
((US) Atlantic: 82358-2 (CD),
82358-4 (CS), 82358-8 (MD)
Record Club: BMG D150382 (CD)
(Canada) CD82358 (CD)
(UK) East West: 82358-1 (LP),
82358-2 (CD), 82358-4 (CS)
(Japan) East West: WMC5-488 (CD)
Tori Amos, Jeff Scott, Carlo Nuccio, Ed Green, Paulinho DaCosta, John Shanks (Beene), Steve Caton, Will McGregor, Eric Rosse, Nick DeCaro, Philly, Jake Freeze, Phil Shenale, Paulinho DaCosta, Eric Williams, Matthew Seligman, Chris Hughes, David Rhodes, David Lord, Stuart Gordon, Will Gregory, Jef Scott, Nancy Shanks (Beenie)
Highest Chart Position: 54 (US), 14 (UK)
In late 1990, Tori came back to Atlantic Records with a 10-track demo tape, several years in the making, that would later become Little Earthquakes and its subsequent B sides. The track listing consisted of Russia (later to become Take To The Sky / Mary / Crucify / Happy Phantom / Leather / Winter / Sweet Dreams / Song For Eric / Learn To Fly / Flying Dutchman.
After the failure of Y Kant Tori Read, Tori took some time off to re-invent herself and in the process, dropped the band and got back in touch with her genuine passion, the piano. Many of these songs are different from the released versions. Learn To Fly has still to see a release anywhere.
Atlantic Records’ Doug Morris, still unhappy because he wanted a female Elton John, decided that Tori might be a little too eccentric for America. Morris shipped Tori off to London, where being eccentric is the rule rather than the exception. As a result of this move Tori was able to work and perform in an atmosphere much more to her liking than the insincerity of Los Angeles.
Tori next played a private candlelit show for East West Records’ managing director Max Hole. Hole needed no more convincing that East West had someone very special in their midst. East West, Atlantic’s UK partner, insisted that Tori begin playing live in and around London to accrue media attention for her. Playing even small clubs in London usually brings someone from the music press. The raves quickly began to accumulate for Tori. At one point Tori actually invited several music journalists to her flat for private concerts and tea. Once the UK press fell in love with her, the girl was off and running.
Little Earthquakes was released in the UK on January 13th 1992 and in the US in early February. The album was preceded by two singles, Me And A Gun in October 1991 and Silent All These Years in November. The wondrous Little Earthquakes only reached number 54 in the US but climbed to number 14 in the UK charts. The British, always ready to embrace something new and strange, had taken to Tori like mad. Hence, Atlantic’s gamble of moving Tori to London had paid off very well.
It didn’t take long, though, before word of mouth, alternative radio and a short 17-city promotional tour of America had everyone buzzing about this angst-ridden singer who wore her album on her sleeve. Tori had her foot in the door and would never look back. Little Earthquakes produced a treasure trove of singles and the accompanying unreleased tracks, cover version, remixes and live cuts.
Little Earthquakes was entirely written by Tori and produced in part by Tori, Davitt Sigerson, Eric Rosse and Ian Stanley with noted UK producer Jon Kelly mixing Girl and Winter. Worth noting: initial commercial pressings of the CD in the US were accidentally shipped as promotional copies. The difference between these and later pressings is the line “1992 ATLANTIC RECORDING CORPORATION – FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY – NOT FOR SALE – PRINTED IN USA ON RECYCLED PAPER” printed in very small print in the lower-left-hand corner of the CD insert. In addition, all the photos in that insert are in black and white; later inserts are in color. In the US, only CD, cassette and later, Mini-Disc were released but in Europe an LP was issued. The lyrics and photos from the insert are printed on the back of the album cover instead of the phallic plant-like object that graces the back of the CD. The German version of the Little Earthquakes LP was actually released on the Atlantic label. All other European releases were through East/West, making the German variation unique.
Little Earthquakes reached platinum record status in the US, (over 1 million copies) and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
– from Tori Amos: Collectibles
“After Y Kant Tori Read I had a huge dose of what it’s like to be on the precipice and then Zola Budd comes and knocks you off. Bloody hell. I had no idea that Little Earthquakes would get heard. It was such a dose of humility.”
– Tori; Illinois Entertainer magazine, September, 1998
“Yeah. That first album [Little Earthquakes] was very naked, it was me rationalising my life at that point, like a diary.”
– Tori, New Musical Express, December 17, 1994
“I lived on the other side of this hill in this little apartment and wrote Little Earthquakes. So it’s kinda funny, being on the other side of the hill, isn’t it girls? I don’t mind so much being on the other side of the hill.”
– Tori in-concert; Los Angeles, CA, 06/28/96
RDT: Where did the idea for the lyric design for the album come from?
CP: In a square? Well, because everything else was square, I suppose. (laughs) I reckon that with lyrics, I don’t know, I haven’t followed lyrics when I’m listening to something for ages, but usually what you do is you listen then you look to the lyric sheet when there’s something you can’t hear. You only look to it then. I don’t think you follow it with the lyric sheet. You may as well try something new.
RDT: What about the capital letters?
CP: Oh, I just picked out the ones that I thought would look good in capital letters. (laughs) In fact, we did it over the telephone. I asked Tori to sing it so that if somebody was trying to follow it, it would help relate. Then I’m afraid I moved it around a bit, according to where it came typographically. Where there was an emphasis on the word, or a word that you really heard… it really does work.
– Cindy Palmano, Really Deep Thoughts Fanzine, Issue #4
In 1991, [Dough] Morris (head of Atlantic Records) asked to hear a demo version of Amos’ album, ‘Little Earthquakes.’ Morris didn’t exactly enthuse over the quiet and cerebral songs, which were costly to produce and seemed too spacey for American listeners. In fact, Morris was downright annoyed. “He called me up and said: ‘Why are you doing this?’,” Amos recalls. Her belligerent response: “Because I believe in it with every cell of my being.”
– Tori, Businessweek, June 20,1994
“On Little Earthquakes (her 1992 debut album), I went after the Son…”
– Tori, The West Australian, August 11, 1994
“Um, it’s kind of like trying to stay alive. At that point, Little Earthquakes was my first, um, attempt at getting out of the egg. You know that little chicken that kinda kicks out the egg (imitates chicken) and says, “OK, um, what have I really not been saying all these years?” You know you can wear the plastic snake pants and put 15,000 holes in your body, which is fine. Enjoy it (laughter). But what am I saying? I’m just saying absolutely Nothing. So I started to think about… what is the most powerful thing I can do for myself. The Truth is actually the most shocking thing you can do because nobody really hears it much. So when you start saying things truthfully, and I mean truthfully, there’s no greater .. (sighs) .. Freedom than that, and I was really dying. So I had to find out, I had taken on all of these belief systems. Whether you go from .. Christianity, to Buddhism, to God, .. I’m going to be one of those Mary Magdalenes, YES (raises arms). I mean, to finally say, “No, wait a minute, I’m just, who’s this redhead?” Dyed of course. But, you know, what are my beliefs? Not what you want me to believe. Or what I should believe. But what do I Really, Really believe? And if there are a million people telling me I’m out of my mind, that should really be inconsequential. Because it’s not your truth, it’s gotta be mine. And same with you, you know?”