“Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos was the second single released off of her debut studio Album Little Earthquakes. It was originally released in the UK in November of 1991, and in the US in April of 1992. RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) used “Silent All These Years” to promote awareness of the organization. (from Wikipedia)
“Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos
from the Album, Little Earthquakes (1992)
The Song was originally a B-Side for Tori’s Debut Single, “Me and a Gun”, but after Radio One in the UK named “Silent All These Years” as their “Song of the Week” it was decided to release it as a Single on its own. In the US the Song was released on cassette as Tori’s first Single.
This Song, and the Album Little Earthquakes, was life-changing, and life-affirming, to me. It felt like a buoy being thrown out to a girl who was drowning. I’d never found a Song, or album before that time that I understood so deeply, to my bones deeply, and also felt so understood within. I clung to this song for dear life at the age of 23, and now, at the age of 48, I still feel it, and understand it, “to my bones” deep.
It was January 1992 when I became a Mom for the first time, it was the month and year that my oldest was born, and it was the month and year when my life stopped being just about me. It was the month and year that everything in my reality changed, and it was the month and the year that I discovered Tori (along with Nirvana).
Little Earthquakes hit the record stores two days before my daughter was born, but it was actually the EP single to Crucify that I got a hold of first. I had caught Tori’s cover version of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit on a local radio broadcast about two weeks after my daughter was born, and I remember going with one of my best friends’ to a local record store to get it, cracking it open in the car, and playing it on repeat together. He and I would later see Tori play live three (or is it four) times together, often considering her as our mutual musical love.
It did not take long for me to grab a copy of Little Earthquakes. I played it over and over, finding myself in so many of the songs, recognizing the stories, the struggles, the pain and the pleasures of them. As an ex-parochial school girl, a survivor of childhood abuse and of a rape from two years prior that I was still trying to come to terms with, a grown-up girl who was questioning religion, and who was full of copious amounts of confusion and silences, I felt like the album was written just for me, especially the songs Precious Things, Me and a Gun and Silent All These Years. I clung to it, sang-a-long to it, memorized it, and found strength in it, enough to leave a bad relationship and take a hold of my life as a single Mother and as a twenty-something woman who was going to live, write, and stay silent no longer.
Tori has cited her young niece Cody in helping to bring “Silent All These Years” to life.
“So I was with my niece Cody, who was a little girl at the time, and she’s very much a part of ‘Silent All These Years,’ because she loved fairytales and stories, and we would share the Little Mermaid story – Hans Christian Andersen and the idea that she’d lost her voice – and watching Cody respond to this young woman giving up her essence and power, all for something else, and in that moment, I realized that when she had no voice, that just completely took me to the place where I needed to go to reclaim it.”