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)[1]
February 24, 1997 (Australia)
Format CD, Cassette
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, widow of Kurt Cobain, whom Trent Reznor blames for the destruction of the friendship (whatever its extent) between himself and Amos.[2] 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."

"Professional Widow" was released in July 1996 as the third single from the "Boys For Pele" album in the US, containing remixes by house music producers Armand van Helden and MK. The single reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.[3]

An edited version of the Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix of "Professional Widow" was originally released as a double A-side single with "Hey Jupiter" in Europe and Australasia. In December 1996, the single was released as an A-side in Europe, under the expanded title "Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)", and reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1997.[4][5] This release contained additional remixes of the track by Mr. Roy.

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 – Boys for Pele was reissued in the UK and Australia 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.
  • 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]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[18] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[1] Silver 200,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BPI > Certified Awards > Tori Amos". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  2. ^ "An Interview With Trent Reznor". Spin (March 1996). Archived from the original on 2004-02-24. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  3. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / Tori Amos > Chart History > Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  4. ^ a b "Official Charts > Tori Amos". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 602. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ "Australian Charts > Tori Amos 'Hey Jupiter/Professional Widow'". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11.  N.B. The 'Hey Jupiter/Professional Widow' and 'Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)' single were counted as the same release on the ARIA Chart.
  7. ^ "austriancharts.at > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved July 4, 2016. 
  9. ^ "finnishcharts.com > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big) (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  10. ^ "lescharts.com > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big) (Chanson)" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  11. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big) (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know > Search results for 'Professional Widow'". Fireball Media. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  13. ^ "dutchcharts.nl > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  14. ^ "norwegiancharts.com > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big) (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  15. ^ "swedishcharts.com > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big) (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  16. ^ "hitparade.ch > Tori Amos – Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  17. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 20. 
  18. ^ a b "1997 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 

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