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Precious Things

Lyrics by Tori Amos

so I ran faster but it caught me here yes my loyalties turned like my ankle in the seventh grade running after BILLY running after the rain these precious things let them bleed let them wash away these precious things let them break their hold over me he said you're really an ugly girl but I like the way you play and I died but I thanked him can you believe that sick holding on to his picture dressing up every day i wanna smash the faces of those beautiful BOYS those christian boys so you can make me cum that doesn't make you Jesus I remember yes in my peach party dress no one dared no one cared to tell me where the pretty girls are those demigods with their NINE-INCH nails and little fascist panties tucked inside the heart of every nice girl...

Tori Quotes

"Precious Things" is a song that came to me when I was living behind a church. And I was about 24 years old. I had a roommate that listened to really raucous music and it started to take me into flashbacks of my grandmother. And she used to put me in a corner and she would read me something, I think from Leviticus, I can't remember. But she was convinced that I was gonna give my soul to God and my body to a man that I would marry. But at five years old I knew that we were enemies. So, in my mind I was always trying to find ways to get away from this Creature. So I thought of things and my mother thought I was a demon for thinking them but I think she would smile out of the corner [of her mouth] because I think she felt the same way. So, behind this church with this music going on and on in my head, I started to really think that maybe just one day I could run faster. [VH1 Storytellers - October 24, 1998]

Oh, you know very well men sometimes use good sex as a weapon, or as an excuse, like "I just made you come, so don't think I'm also gonna help you do the dishes!" Hello! [Humo magazine]

Heavily into the Sandman comics by now, the nights were late, candles all over the house dripping where they would. Wax is a bit more fun to play with than bubble gum. The doors were open by now. I could resist, but there's always air suction. [Little Earthquakes songbook]

I was always the girl who had friends but did boys like me? Not the boys I liked! They'd say, "She's nice and she plays really good piano but she's also Sandy Luman's friend, can we get her number?" [laughs] I hadn't blossomed so I was seen as a rather nondescript nice girl, I guess. [Hot Press - 1992]

Little Earthquakes is all about celebration. Celebrating the ability to laugh, weep, and scream, particularly if you have been silent for years. And so it's about celebrating sexuality in the widest sense, including the elements of revenge. As in "Precious Things" where I say to the guy, "So you can make me cum/that doesn't make you Jesus." Just because I'm with a man and because I'm creaming for a man doesn't make him a master, doesn't even necessarily make him worthy of love, of my love. And I now realize, maybe for the first time in my life, that my capacity for love is incredibly deep and that for me to give this to a man he has to fully understand, and respect what that means. Too few do. They're into pillaging, rummaging around, doing a little Viking stuff! But most women these days realize that's not enough, boys! And if some women don't then I hope songs like "Precious Things" will help open their eyes. And, just as importantly, help open the eyes of some men. [Hot Press - 1992]

I flirt with other people's songs sometimes. Even if I hear it only one time, there can be a flirtation going on, where I say, "I can do this, but I'm going to approach it in another way." A couple of bands inspired my riff on "Precious Things." But my song is so different from theirs. You can't necessarily make the connection. [Tori Amos: Piece by Piece - 2005]

I got brought to my knees yet again. We were on a trip, Eric Rosse and I, and what had just happened was that Little Earthquakes, the original 10 or 12 songs, had been -- let's use this word loosely -- rejected. That was the Davitt Sigerson production. Now, a lot of those songs made the record in the very beginning, but when it was turned in, I just don't think it was presented correctly and I don't think they knew what I was doing. So, once Doug Morris got involved and realized what it was, then we had a conversation. I'll never forget it. In Los Angeles. And he said to me, "I think you need to write and record another track." I said, "No. I'll do four. I can't do one because there's too much pressure for that one to be it." And so he agreed. And he agreed that I could pull the team in, and he let me be at home, producing.

I pulled in Eric Rosse as a co-producer because we had made the demos together and we worked well together. We're sort of like spiritual brother and sister. Although we were together at the time, we're both married with children now. We were very much alike in that we're both keyboard players. After that conversation with Doug, which I thought was actually good news because I embraced it saying, "Look, if they don't think it's ready, then it's not ready for whatever reason," we took a trip through the American West. We did Utah into the whole Colorado range. Then we came back down and made our way back. And it was in the Rocky Mountains that I came up with this riff.

I wasn't near a piano when it came up. It started building in my head. I think I had been forming it before we left because sometimes that happens. I'll have a two-word phrase or something like that. But everything came together when I got really ill in the Rockies. Just a fever, came down with something. And I think layers were coming off my life -- shields that I had built up in order to filter things. And as that started to get ripped away, these core parts of the self were getting discovered. I was seeing what my structure was made of. [Rolling Stone - December 18, 2009]

Live Versions

"Precious Things"
March 22, 1992 - MTV Hour with Tori Amos

"Precious Things"
April 20, 1992 - New York, New York
from the Little Earthquakes VHS *

"Precious Things"
June 28, 1994 - New York, New York
Late Show with David Letterman

"Precious Things"
July 12, 1996 - Oakland, California

"Precious Things"
October 20, 1996 - Ft. Myers, Florida

"Precious Things"
January 23, 1997 - New York, New York
The Concert for RAINN

"Precious Things"
June 27, 1998 - Pilton, England
Glastonbury Festival

"Precious Things"
November 14, 1998 - New York, New York
Sessions at West 54th

"Precious Things"
October 15, 1999 - New York, New York
Hard Rock Live

"Precious Things"
March 5, 2003 - New York, New York
Oxygen Custom Concert

"Precious Things"
May 2, 2003 - Chicago, Illinois
PBS Soundstage

"Precious Things
June 15, 2007 - Provinssirock Festival, Finland

"Precious Things"
October 1, 2009 - Milan, Italy

"Precious Things" (with the Metropole Orchestra)
October 8, 2010 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

"Precious Things" (with quartet)
December 2, 2011 - New York, New York

"Precious Things"
March 10, 2013 - Crans-Montana, Switzerland
Caprices Festival

"Precious Things"
May 26, 2014 - Rotterdam, Netherlands

"Precious Things"
September 20, 2017 - Linz, Austria

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