Six Pack: Tori Amos
Tori Amos turns 53 today, and to put a unique spin on celebrating her special day, we’ve put together a six-pack featuring songs which feature Tori yet aren’t from her catalogue as a solo artist.
1. Y Kant Tori Read, “Cool on Your Island” – We’d feel like we were doing the world a disservice if we didn’t kick things off by offering a reminder of the album that emerged in advance of Tori beginning her solo career. There was a time when it sort of seemed as though she might’ve been a little less than thrilled that Y Kant Tori Read was ever a thing, but in recent years she’s blindsided audiences by suddenly breaking into songs from the album, including this one.
2. Al Stewart, “Red Toupee” – Although the man who graced the world with “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages” left his days as a top-10 singles artist before the 1970s had come to a close, he’s continued to write, record, and tour his heart out ever since. He’s also maintained a good ear when it comes to spotting quality vocal performances, as he featured Amos as a background vocalist on his 1988 album Last Days of the Century.
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3. Robert Tepper, “The Unforgiven” – Although the world at large remembers him predominantly for his contribution to the Rocky IV soundtrack, Tepper continued his recording career beyond “No Easy Way Out.” In 1988, he released Modern Madness, an LP which featured Amos singing on several tracks, including this track, which was released as a single.
4. Stan Ridgway, “The Last Honest Man” – Few vocalists are quite as instantly recognizable as he who once crooned “Mexican Radio,” but after leaving Wall of Voodoo behind, Ridgway forged a highly underrated career as a solo artist. Although his 1989 album Mosquitoes is generally remembered for its single, “Goin’ Southbound,” that’s not one of the tracks which features Amos. This, however, is.
5. Tom Jones, “I Wanna Get Back With You” – Tori was approached about working with Sir Tom while she was in the midst of touring behind Under the Pink, and as she told the fanzine Upside Down, “He has a great, sexy voice, and any guy at 65 years of age that can still look good in leather pants... gets my vote." Funnily enough, though, since Tori’s contributions were done independently of Tom’s, the two didn’t actually meet until 2002, when both were in attendance for the Q Awards.
6. BT, “Blue Skies” – Brian Transeau, known professionally as BT, once said of Tori to DJ Times, “We have so much in common, it’s frightening,” which may be why their musical collaboration proved so effortless. Amos took an unreleased version of Transeau’s song “Divinity,” sang over it for 15 minutes, and sent him the recording without even listening to it. “I took it and took literally every phrase and every breath and cut it into pieces to make a song out of it. She sang the words "blue" and "sky" next to each other one time in the whole thing, and I cut, glued, pasted, and made this thing that ebbed and flowed like a song. I think it was absolutely nothing that she'd expected. In fact, when I sent her the DAT, she called me immediately and was like, "Did I sing this shit?" Then she hung up and called back five minutes later saying, "This shit is bad-ass!"
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