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Single by Tori Amos
from the album Little Earthquakes
B-side "The Pool", "Take to the Sky",

"Sweet Dreams", "Angie",

"Thank You", "Upside Down",

"Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Released March 9, 1992
Length 5:04
Label EastWest, Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Tori Amos
Producer(s) Ian Stanley, Davit Sigerson
Tori Amos singles chronology






UK Single
US Single

Winter is a song by Tori Amos from her first album, Little Earthquakes. It was released as the fourth single from her debut studio album Little Earthquakes, on March 9, 1992, by Atlantic Records in North America and on May 18, 1992 in Australia.

Background[edit | edit source]

"Winter" was written and recorded during the first phase of creating Little Earthquakes. This period also yielded the songs "Crucify", "Silent All These Years", "Happy Phantom", "Leather", and "Mother", all of which were also recorded at Capitol Records and produced by Davitt Sigerson.

The song was included both on a cassette Tori submitted for copyright in June 1990 and on the original rejected version of Little Earthquakes submitted in December that year.

According to Tori Amos, "whatever the spur, the dam broke and out flooded long repressed emotions. Winter ('when you going to love you as much as I do?') and Crucify ('everyday I crucify myself') are prime portraits of self-loathing."

You can find additional song meanings here.

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
wipe my nose
get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
when I think of winter
I put my hand
in my father's glove
I run off
sleeping beauty
trips me with a frown
I hear a voice
you must learn to stand up
for yourself
cause I can't always be around

he says
when you gonna make up your mind
when you gonna love you as much as I do
when you gonna make up your mind
cause things are gonna CHANGE so fast
all the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
you say that things change my dear

boys get discovered as winter MELTS
flowers competing for the sun
years go by and I'm here still waiting
withering where some snowman was
mirror mirror where's the crystal palace
but I only can see myself
SKATING around the truth who I am
but I know dad the ice is getting thin

he says
when you gonna make up your mind
when you gonna love you as much as I do
when you gonna make up your mind
cause things are gonna CHANGE so fast
all the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
you say that things change my dear

hair is grey and the fires are burning
so many dreams on the shelf
you say I wanted you to be PROUD of me
I always wanted that myself

he says
when you gonna make up your mind
when you gonna love you as much as I do
when you gonna make up your mind
cause things are gonna change so fast
all the WHITE HORSES have gone ahead
I tell you that I'll always want you near
you say that things change my dear...

Video[edit | edit source]

Music Video[edit | edit source]

Versions[edit | edit source]

A demo of the track was leaked.

A remastered version of "Winter" was included on the 2004 greatest hits collection Tales of a Librarian. A reworked version with the Metropole Orchestra was created with the release of Gold Dust in 2012.

Promotional Performances[edit | edit source]

You can find promotional videos here.

Text Interviews[edit | edit source]

Tori Amos: "I didn't feel worthy of love. But there's also that element of enjoying the suffering. Some people enjoy suffering, some enjoy implementing it and there's the third type who want both. Where would the abuser be if the victim didn't provide the whips? I look back and see I chose to be a victim. I relinquished my power by needing validation from others." - What's On (Birmingham), December 21, 1991

Nich DeCaro did orchestral arrangements for "Winter" and "Silent All These Years," which were cut at Captol's Studio A using a 40-50-piece orchestra. – Billboard, April 11, 1992

One song in particular seemed to clue listeners into Tori's character...Another one was it clicked on 'Winter.' So it's different songs for different people that I work with," she described.

“And 'Winter' gets me, because of my relationship with my dad." -Tori Amos, B-Side, June/July 1992

"The record was essentially done in three phases," says co-producer Eric Rosse of Little Earthquakes. The first batch of tracks ["Crucify," "Silent All These Years," "Winter," "Happy Phantom," "Leather," and "Mother"] were cut at Capitol Records in Los Angeles with Davitt Sigerson producing. "The piano and vocal tracks were recorded first, and then everything else was built around them. A 40-plus piece of orchestra added layers of sweetening under the skillful guidance of arranger/conductor Nick DeCaro." – Eric Rosse, Keyboard, September 1992

Summoned to the piano, this Russian music box round played me over and over til I was wrapped in a blanket with the memory of cinnamon apples on my tongue and boys that didn't "We." Went back to where I felt no time -- it was all happening again, presently. - Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes Songbook

I wrote this song for my Dad when he was ill. - Tori Amos, Down Under the Pink, Disc 2

I was leeching off the men in my life; don't get me wrong, they were leeching off me, but I didn't like who I was. So my Dad and I were walking out in the old farm, my grandmother's farm, she really wasn't a nice person. Now my Dad, he's like James Dean or Billy Graham, though there's no real difference there. I was telling him how bad I felt cause of the first album being so bad and Dad said to me -- he'd never said it before -- "Tori Ellen, When are you going to accept you are good enough for you?" - Tori Amos, VH1 Storytellers, October 24, 1998

Someone said, "Bury the strings in 'Winter' because it won't be commerical." And now I'm trying to preserve what was on tape, not necessarily what got released because of a decision that was made in 20 seconds at the time. - Tori Amos, Los Angeles Times, September 21, 2003

It's always shifting. When I sing "Winter" now, I don't necessarily get the same pictures I did on the last tour or the tour before or the tour before or the tour before. When I was writing that song, I was considering a relationship between a girl and her father, or a grandfather. Or any male who held that space. Because as we know, some fathers don't hold that space. My perspective isn't always about a girl and her father. "When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do?" There was a moment for me when those lyrics were referencing Kevyn Aucoin. Especially when he died, that was my need. The song allows me the space to have my perception of it as I go through my changes, and yet I still hold the integrity of a girl and her father when that songs enters my body in live performance. But I, as Tori, will feel what I feel, and see the pictures I see, and the songs have always allowed me that as long as I retain their DNA integrity.

It can even come back to parenting. I will do something, say something to Natashya, and I'll just realize I have created a space that I did not want to create for her to walk into. Say she was very naughty and I said something like (and I am cringing as I write this), "Because you did this, this is why Mommy's going to London this weekend." So then she thinks that when Mommy leaves it's because she's naughty. I saw that happen once, and it was as if a thousand prisms were shattered -- I began to see in my own being how the tape plays, what I hear when somebody makes a rhetorical move like that. I did something that I'm going to have to deal with and work with now a lot, whenever I leave her. So when I sing "Winter," sometimes now I see a girl walking over that hill with a mommy. Yet the pictures can still be of my Poppa, and my father. It's not always an either / or when I'm singing a song live. I can liken it much more to snapshots or Polaroids that I can flip through in a book, that tug and pull on my emotions with every turn of a phrase. But now other experiences affect me when I sing, "When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do?" - Tori Amos: Piece by Piece, 2005

[The "White Horses" are] your dreams. That doesn't really say it. Opportunities? Roads that you thought you would go down and haven't experienced, and all these potential experiences are gone now. Those doors are closed. And imagination -- the belief that your imagination can take you to places. The magical world having gone from your world, which to me there's nothing more painful than that -- when you can't access your magical world. There was a moment when I thought I was too young to not be able to access that anymore. But I've noticed over the years that a lot of teenagers feel locked out of that world. They don't know how to get back anymore because in trying to become an adult you feel like you have to circumcise the magical world. - Tori Amos, Rolling Stone, December 18, 2009

Live Performances[edit | edit source]

This song has been performed 418 times live since its release.[1]

You can find a playlist of live performances here.

The first documented performance of "Winter" live in concert took place at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland on July 3, 1991.[2] This performance was recorded and subsequently released on the live album Live at Montreux in 2008. Amos has played the song on nearly all of her tours since.[3]

Recorded live performances of "Winter" have also been included on Live From New York, The Original Bootlegs, and Legs and Boots.

Sheet Music[edit | edit source]

Little Earthquakes songbook, released in 1992.

You can find sheet music for this song at the following links.

Piano[edit | edit source]

Figure Tori Out[edit | edit source]


YANTA[edit | edit source]


Music Notes[edit | edit source]

These transcriptions come from the official releases.

Winter (P/V/G)[5]

Winter (Easy Piano)

Guitar[edit | edit source]

Music Notes[edit | edit source]

These transcriptions come from the official releases.

Winter (P/V/G)[5]

Winter (Guitar TAB)

Covers[edit | edit source]

The song has been covered by

  • Stanford Harmonics
  • E-Clypse (feat) Jemma Price
  • The Bostonians
  • October Hill
  • Mosaic Whispers
  • The HR Veritones
  • To Be Two
  • Wing
  • 林凡 (Freya Lim)
  • Nathan Temby
  • Reid Jamieson
  • Lisa Wahlandt & Sven Faller
  • Unwoman
  • Us and Them
  • Moira Stern
  • Tim Anderson
  • Geoff Rickly
  • Chantel McGregor
  • Melissa Ferrick
  • Proximity
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star
  • Yoga Pop Ups
  • Midnite String Quartet
  • Joshua Greenwood

You can find a list of official and unofficial covers here.

Releases[edit | edit source]

Winter has been released both studio and live on different formats. These include the following:

Live from Montreux 1991/1992

Official[edit | edit source]

Unofficial[edit | edit source]

Tracklisting[edit | edit source]

UK CD single

  1. "Winter" – 5:44
  2. "The Pool" – 2:51
  3. "Take to the Sky" – 4:20
  4. "Sweet Dreams" – 3:27

UK and German limited edition CD single

  1. "Winter" – 5:44
  2. "Angie" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 4:25
  3. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl) – 3:17
  4. "Thank You" (Robert Plant, Jimmy Page) – 3:52

German CD single

  1. "Winter" – 5:44
  2. "The Pool" – 2:51
  3. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" – 3:15

Australian CD single and cassette single

  1. "Winter" – 5:44
  2. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" – 3:15
  3. "Angie" – 4:22

UK 7-inch and cassette single

  1. "Winter" – 5:44
  2. "The Pool" – 2:50

US CD single

  1. "Winter" – 5:44
  2. "The Pool" – 2:50
  3. "Take to the Sky" – 4:20
  4. "Sweet Dreams" – 3:27
  5. "Upside Down" – 4:22

US 7-inch and cassette single

  1. "Winter" (edit) – 4:38
  2. "The Pool" – 2:50

Charts[edit | edit source]

Chart (1992) Peak


Australia (ARIA)[6] 49
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[7] 76
UK Singles (OCC)[8] 25

Release History[edit | edit source]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United Kingdom March 9, 1992
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
EastWest [9]
Australia May 18, 1992
  • CD
  • cassette

Personnel[edit | edit source]

Credits taken from Little Earthquakes liner notes.[11]

  • Acoustic piano and vocal - Tori Amos
  • Orchestra arranged and conducted by Nick DeCaro
  • Irish war drum - Eric Rosse
  • Recorded by John Beverly Jones
  • Assisted by Leslie Ann Jones
  • Mixed by Jon Kelly
  • Produced by Davitt Sigerson

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "All Tours." Tori Amos Setlist Database. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  4. "Official Catalog - Member Section." Figure Tori Out.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Winter (
  6. "Tori Amos – Winter". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  7. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles". Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 15. April 11, 1992. p. 22.
  8. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  9. "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. March 7, 1992. p. 17.
  10. "New Release Summary – Product Available from: 18/05/92 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 120 – Week Ending 17 May 1992)". ARIA. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  11. "Pretty Good Year." Tori Amos, Retrieved June 26, 2021.
Little Earthquakes
Songs "Crucify" • "Girl" • "Silent All These Years" • "Precious Things" • "Winter" • "Happy Phantom" • "China" • "Leather" • "Mother" • "Tear in Your Hand" • "Me and a Gun" • "Little Earthquakes (song)"
B-sides "Upside Down" • "Thoughts" • "Sugar" • "Flying Dutchman" • "Humpty Dumpty" • "The Pool" • "The Pool" • "Take to the Sky" • "Sweet Dreams" • "Angie" • "Smells Like Teen Spirit" • "Thank You" • "Here. In My Head" • "Mary" • "Ode to the Banana King (Part One)" • "Song for Eric"
Outtakes "Take Me With You" • "Learn to Fly"
Related "Little Earthquakes Tour" • "Little Earthquakes (book)" • "Little Earthquakes (1991 - 1993)"
Tori Amos
Studio Albums "Little Earthquakes" • "Under the Pink" • "Boys for Pele" • "From the Choirgirl Hotel" • "To Venus and Back" • "Strange Little Girls" • "Scarlet's Walk" • "The Beekeeper" • "American Doll Posse" • "Abnormally Attracted to Sin" • "Midwinter Graces" • "Night of Hunters" • "Gold Dust" • "Unrepentant Geraldines" • "Native Invader" • "Ocean to Ocean"
Compilations "Tales of a Librarian" • "A Piano: The Collection"
Live Albums "To Venus and Back" • "The Original Bootlegs" • "Legs and Boots" • "Live at Montreux 1991/1992" • "From Russia with Love"
EPs "Crucify" • "Hey Jupiter" • "Scarlet's Hidden Treasures" • "Exclusive Session" • "Flavor (Peter Rauhofer Remixes)" • "Spotify Sessions" • "Russia" • "Christmastide"
Singles "Me and a Gun" • "Silent All These Years" • "China" • "Winter" • "Crucify" • "Cornflake Girl" • "God" • "Pretty Good Year" • "Past the Mission" • "Caught a Lite Sneeze" • "Talula" • "Professional Widow" • "Hey Jupiter" • "In the Springtime of His Voodoo" • "Spark" • "Jackie's Strength" • "Cruel" • "Raspberry Swirl" • "Bliss" • "1000 Oceans" • "Glory of the 80s" • "Concertina" • "Strange Little Girl" • "A Sorta Fairytale" • "Taxi Ride" • "Strange" • "Don't Make Me Come to Vegas" • "Mary" • "Angels" • "Sleeps With Butterflies" • "Sweet the Sting" • "Cars and Guitars" • "Take Me With You" • "Big Wheel" • "Bouncing Off Clouds" • "Almost Rosey" • "Welcome to England" • "Maybe California" • "500 Miles" • "A Silent Night With You" • "Carry" • "Nautical Twilight" • "Star Whisperer" • "Flavor" • "Gold Dust" • "Trouble's Lament" • "Promise" • "Flicker" • "Cloud Riders" • "Up the Creek" • "Reindeer King" • "Better Angels" • "Speaking With Trees" • "Spies"
Videos "Little Earthquakes" • "Live from New York" • "Complete Videos: 1991 - 1998" • "A Sorta Fairytale" • "Welcome to Sunny Florida" • "Fade to Red" "Live at Montreux 1991/1992" • "Live from the Artist's Den"
Tours "Little Earthquakes Tour" • "Under the Pink Tour" • "Dew Drop Inn Tour" • "Plugged '98 Tour" • "5 1/2 Weeks Tour" • "To Dallas and Back Tour" • "Strange Little Tour" • "Scarlet's Walk Tour" • "Lotta Pianos Tour" • "Original Sinsuality Tour" • "Summer of Sin Tour" • "American Doll Posse World Tour" • "Sinful Attraction Tour" • "Summer Tour 2010" • "Night of Hunters Tour" • "Gold Dust Orchestral Tour" • "Unrepentant Geraldines Tour" • "Native Invader Tour" • "Ocean to Ocean Tour"
Official Books "Piece by Piece" • "Comic Book Tattoo" • "Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage" • "Little Earthquakes (book)"
Other Books "Tori Amos: All These Years" • "Pink Earthquakes" • "Tori Amos: Images and Insights" • "Tori Amos: Cornflake Girl" • "Tori Amos: Collectibles" • "Tori Amos: Lyrics" • "Pretty Good Years: A Biography of Tori Amos" • "Tori Amos: In the Studio" • "Tori Amos: Soul Searching and Uncensored" • "Sing Us a Song, Piano Woman: Female Fans and the Music of Tori Amos" • "The Light Princess" • "Tori Amos: Complete Recordings Illustrated" • "Tori Amos's Boys for Pele (33 1/3)" • "Tori Amos Quotes" • "Celebrity Adult Coloring Book: Welcome to the World of Celebrities and Famous Bands" • "Tori Amos Bootleg Webring (Remember the Internet; vol. 2)" • "Tori Amos: every song, every album"
Songbooks "Little Earthquakes" • "Under the Pink" • "The Bee Sides" • "Boys for Pele" • "MTV Unplugged" • "Great Expectations Songbook" • "From the Choirgirl Hotel" "Tori Amos Anthology" • "1000 Oceans" • "Tori Amos: The Singles" • "To Venus and Back" • "Tori Amos for Fingerstyle Guitar with Tablature" • "Tori Amos for Easy Piano" • "Scarlet's Walk" • "Tori Amos Collection: Tales of a Librarian" • "The Beekeeper" • "American Doll Posse" • "Abnormally Attracted to Sin"
Related Articles "Delirium" • "Blue Skies" • "RAINN" • "Baltimore" • "The Light Princess"