Music Rules: Little Earthquakes shook everybody

Tori Amos’s album “Little Earthquakes” was released on February 25, 1992, thirty years ago. It was her second album, her first as a solo artist. It’s on many “Greatest Ever Albums” lists, selling over ten million worldwide.

The record is Amos’s personal statement, and yet it’s so universal that every woman who listens can relate to these songs: “Crucify”, “Girl”, “Little Earthquakes”, “Winter”, “Tear In Your Hand”, and many others.  But the song that hits hardest has to be “Me And A Gun”, a vocal with no instrumental accompaniment at all.  It’s a fictional account by a narrator who murdered her rapist and is on the run.  Amos, who was raped a few years before writing the album, founded RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the largest nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization in the US.

Here is a stream of the full album from her official youtube channel, plus extra tracks (a full list below the fold). Her cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is staggering, seething anger instead of violent outrage.



It’s not just Tori Amos who is worth mentioning.  1992 may well be the greatest year in music for women recording artists.  A partial list of 1992 albums recorded by women is below the fold.


Here’s the full song list for Amos’s album in the video:

0:00:00 Crucify
0:04:58 Girl
0:09:04 Silent All These Years
0:13:16 Precious Things
0:17:43 Winter
0:23:25 Happy Phantom
0:26:39 China
0:31:37 Leather
0:34:51 Mother
0:41:48 Tear in Your Hand
0:46:26 Me and a Gun
0:50:09 Little Earthquakes

0:57:03 Upside Down
1:01:24 Thoughts
1:04:07 Ode to the Banana King (Part I)
1:08:14 Song for Eric
1:10:05 The Pool
1:12:54 Take to the Sky
1:17:12 Sweet Dreams
1:20:39 Mary
1:25:03 Sugar
1:29:29 Flying Dutchman
1:35:59 Humpty Dumpty
1:38:50 Smells Like Teen Spirit
1:42:05 Little Earthquakes [live]
1:49:05 Crucify [live]
1:54:39 Precious Things [live]
1:59:44 Mother [live]
2:06:08 Happy Phantom [live]
2:09:28 Here in My Head [live]

Again, this is not a complete list of women recording artists (either solo artists, primary songwriters or band leaders).  For many of them, it was their most successful album, or one of them.  The musical quality and commercial success of the list is amazing.

10,000 Maniacs, "Our Time In Eden"
4 Non Blondes, "Bigger, Better, Faster, More!"
Annie Lennox, "Diva"
Concrete Blonde, "Walking in London"
En Vogue, "Funky Divas"
Indigo Girls, "Rites of Passage"
Jade, "Jade to the Max"
Juliana Hatfield, "Hey Babe"
k.d. lang, "Ingénue"
L7, "Bricks Are Heavy"
Lucinda Williams, "Sweet Old World"
Luscious Jackson, "In Search of Manny"
Mary J. Blige, "What's the 411?"
Melissa Etheridge, "Never Enough"
Neneh Cherry, "Homebrew"
No Doubt, "No Doubt"
PJ Harvey, "Dry"
Sass Jordan, "Racine"
Selena, "Entre a Mi Mundo"
Sinéad O'Connor, "Am I Not Your Girl?"
Suzanne Vega, "99.9F°"
TLC, "Ooooooohhh.... On the TLC Tip"
Tracy Chapman, "Matters of the Heart"
Wilson Phillips, "Shadows and Light"


I’m not counting Meryn Cadell‘s “Angel Food For Thought” (released in January 1992) because he transitioned in 2003.


  1. lochaber says


    I always thought her assailant had the weapon, and she was just focused on surviving.

    It wouldn’t be the first time I wrongly interpreted lyrics, so I’ll have to pay more attention and think specifically about it the next time it comes up on my playlist…

    Aside from that, I feel that any list that has both PJ Harvey and Suzanne Vega on it is a good list…