Professional Widow

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"Professional Widow"
Single by Tori Amos
from the album Boys for Pele
Released July 2, 1996 (US)
December 30, 1996 (UK)
February 24, 1997(Aus)
Format CD, Cassette
Recorded April 1995 (LP version), 1996 (remixes)
Genre Alternative rock
Speed garage (Armand Van Helden remix)
Length 4:31 (LP version)
Label Atlantic Records
Writer(s) Tori Amos
Producer(s) Tori Amos
Tori Amos singles chronology
"Talula"
(1996)
"Professional Widow"
(1996)
"Hey Jupiter"
(1996)

"Professional Widow" is a 1996 song written by singer-songwriter Tori Amos. It is a harpsichord-driven rock dirge and was included on her 1996 album Boys for Pele. The eponymous "professional widow" is widely rumoured to be Courtney Love, former wife of Kurt Cobain, whom Trent Reznor blames for the destruction of the friendship (whatever its extent) between himself and Amos.[1] In 1999, Reznor's band Nine Inch Nails released a single called "Starfuckers, Inc.", with "Starfucker" being a word that appears in "Professional Widow".

Lyrically the song borrows directly from the short story "The Sphinx" by Edgar Allan Poe. Specifically the lyric "what is termed a landslide of principal proportion" is taken from the line "what is termed a land-slide, of the principal portion of its trees"; and the lyric "prism perfect" from the line "in shape a perfect prism."

It was remixed by house music producer Armand van Helden (marketed as "Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix"), and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart,[2] and the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the U.S. The song was then further remixed by artist Mr. Roy, spawning an entirely new CD-single of remixes that again charted.

Personnel (of original recording on Boys for Pele)[edit]

Singles and compilations[edit]

US "Professional Widow" single, July 1996[edit]

CD single[edit]

  1. "Professional Widow" (LP Mix) – 4:31
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  3. "Professional Widow" (MK Mix) – 7:20
  4. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub) – 3:44
  5. "Professional Widow" (MK Vampire Dub) – 6:56
  6. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Instrumental) – 5:35
  7. "Professional Widow" (Bonus Beats) – 4:31

12" single[edit]

  1. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  2. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub) – 3:44
  3. "Professional Widow" (MK Mix) – 7:20
  4. "Professional Widow" (MK Vampire Dub) 6:56

UK "Hey Jupiter/Professional Widow" double A-side single, July 1996[edit]

CD single[edit]

  1. "Hey Jupiter" (The Dakota Version) – 6:03
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) (Radio Edit) – 3:45
  3. "Sugar" (Live) – 5:43
  4. "Honey" (Live) – 4:19

12" single[edit]

  1. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  2. "Hey Jupiter" (The Dakota Version) (Radio Edit) – 4:14
  3. "Talula" (BT's Synethasia Mix) – 11:27

Cassette single[edit]

  1. "Hey Jupiter" (The Dakota Version) – 6:03
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) (Radio Edit) – 3:45

UK "Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)" single, December 1996[edit]

CD single[edit]

  1. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) (Radio Edit) – 3:45
  2. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's 7" Edit)
  3. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  4. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's Cosmic Cottage Mix)
  5. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub)

12" single[edit]

  1. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's Cosmic Cottage)
  2. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's 7" Edit)
  3. "Professional Widow" (Armands Star Trunk Funkin' Mix)
  4. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub)

Cassette single[edit]

  1. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's 7" Edit)
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armands Star Trunk Funkin' Mix)

Compilations[edit]

Following the release of Boys for Pele, on which it first appeared, "Professional Widow" has been featured on several releases.

  • 1996 – The LP version is featured on the Escape from L.A. soundtrack.
  • 1996 – The "Merry Widow version", a live version performed on an organ during her 1996 tour, appeared on the Hey Jupiter EP.
  • 1997 – A compilation CD titled Work Out, released by Atlantic Records, leads with the Star Trunk Funkin' Mix.
  • 1997 – Boys for Pele was reissued in the UK featuring both the LP version and the full-length Star Trunk Funkin' Mix back-to-back. Consequently, the track "In the Springtime of His Voodoo" is cut from the album.
  • 1997 – Triple J Hottest 100, Vol. 4 compilation (Triple J Radio Australia).
  • 2003 – The compilation CD Tales of a Librarian seats the radio edit of the Star Trunk Funkin' Mix between two other Boys for Pele songs.
  • 2005 – The digital version of Boys for Pele was made available on iTunes, featuring the same track listing as the 1997 UK reissue.
  • 2006 – The digital iTunes Essentials collection includes the full length (8:06) Star Trunk Funkin' Mix in their Tori Amos best-of playlist, categorized as one of "The Basics".
  • 2006 – The box set compilation A Piano: The Collection includes the Star Trunk Funkin' Mix edit as well as the Merry Widow Live Version, but again, not the album version. The "Merry Widow" version featured here is an edit, which fades out some of Amos' dialog heard on the original Hey Jupiter EP.

Video[edit]

A video was made for the "Star Trunk Funkin' Mix," but it was simply a collection of clips from other Tori Amos videos edited together. It is the only video from between 1991 and 1998 that does not appear on Tori Amos: Complete Videos 1991-1998.

One can see Amos playing "Professional Widow" live on the Welcome to Sunny Florida DVD. The performance features Jon Evans on bass and Matt Chamberlain on drums, while Amos plays the piano. This version mutes out any instances of "fucker," and the last word, "cock".

Covers[edit]

  • Hard rock act The Good Year Pimps released a version of the song for the compilation, Wouldn't It Be Great To Have All These Songs on One Album. This release also contains a cover of Amos' song "Iieee."
  • Dance/jazz Nite Flyte recorded a version of the "Star Trunk Funkin' Mix" for their album 30,000 Feet, revisioning it is a laid-back groove.
  • A cover of the "Star Trunk Funkin' Mix" was done by trance group Money Order.
  • The Vitamin String Quartet included an "album mix"-inspired version on their 2nd Tori Amos tribute compendium.

Remixes[edit]

  • "Professional Widow" (LP mix/original version) – 4:31
  • "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) (radio edit) – 3:45
  • "Professional Widow" (Armand's Instrumental) – 5:35
  • "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  • "Professional Widow" (Bonus Beats) – 4:31
  • "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub) – 3:44
  • "Professional Widow" (MK Mix) – 7:20
  • "Professional Widow" (MK Vampire Dub) – 6:56
  • "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's 7" Edit)
  • "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's Cosmic Cottage Mix)

Charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Position
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 8
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[3] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Single Sales 14
UK Singles Chart[2] 1
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 17
Canadian Singles Chart 38
Belgium Walonia Singles Chart 22
Belgium Flanders Singles Chart 22
Norwegian Singles Chart 17
Swiss Singles Chart 22
Austrian Singles Chart 23
French Singles Chart 35
Dutch Singles Chart 33
Swedish Singles Chart 40
Finnish Singles Chart 16
German Singles Chart 38

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "An Interview With Trent Reznor". Spin (March 1996). Archived from the original on 24 February 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 602. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 20. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Before" by Pet Shop Boys
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
July 27, 1996 – August 3, 1996
Succeeded by
"Keep on Jumpin'" by Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown
Preceded by
"2 Become 1" by Spice Girls
UK Singles Chart number-one single
January 12, 1997 – January 18, 1997
Succeeded by
"Your Woman" by White Town