Jackie’s Strength is a song by Tori Amos, released as the second single from her 1998 album From the Choirgirl Hotel. It reached # 54 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart.
The remix single, released the following year, reached # 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart in the U.S.
The lyrics refer to Jackie Onassis, there is also a brief reference to the Kennedy assassination (“Shots rang out, the police came“), though Amos herself explained that the song also concerns her own personal doubts about marriage.
The music video (see above), shot in black and white, portrays Amos as a bride on her wedding day. She travels in a taxi cab, hiding from her wedding party as the taxi passes by the church where she is to be married.
The video includes imagery of realistic situations such as teen pregnancy, pre-marital sex, interracial relationships and use of medication by elderly persons.
The video can be interpreted as a commentary on life-changing decisions. It was directed by James Brown.
Editor’s Note: For me, the song was always about the fear of commitment, of marriage, of failure. It was about calling on our personal catalog of strength and love, the images and scripts and tenets we hold that signify marriage and love and fidelity to us, to help get us through. For someone who has had failed marriages and heartbreak, I know that I have called on this song as one of my totems of strength. This last time when I was trading “I do’s”, and my body literally shook in fear (it was everywhere, the trembling and shakign, in ways I have never physically experienced before), I played this song in my head, on repeat, to help me keep breathing.