A “Northern Lad”: Tori Amos and Richard Armitage

While watching North and South, I kept hearing the song “Northern Lad” by Tori Amos when John Thornton showed up (Had a Northern lad. . .well not exactly had). Then I started watching Spooks and the same thing happened when Lucas of North showed up.

Like Armitage, Amos was born on August 22 (We’re a birthday trifecta!). When she lives in England, she’s a southwestern girl and resides in Cornwall.

As a child, Amos was a piano prodigy and won a full scholarship to study at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Her breakthrough song was “Silent All These Years” and she has been Grammy-nominated five times for “Best Alternative Music Album.” She has a dedicated following of fans and I never pass up an opportunity to see her in concert; her ability to transform her songs into electrically emotional and sensual performance is mesmerizing. The setlist changes every night and her song selection spans the entirety of her career, including rarities and covers.

From Amos’s fourth album From the Choirgirl Hotel, “Northern Lad” is rumored to be about Amos’s English husband Mark and its baking imagery suggests that it is part of a sequence of songs including “Baker Baker” from Under the Pink and “Cooling” from the Boys for Pele era.

“Cooling” is one of my favorite Amos songs.

Favorite lyrics:

and I heard every word
that you have said
and I know I have been
driven like the snow

but this is cooling
faster than I can
hey…
faster than I can
cooling
this is cooling
this is cooling

Entire lyrics:

baker baker baking a cake
make me a day
make me whole again
and I wonder what’s in a day
what’s in your cake this time

I guess you heard he’s gone to L.A.
he says that behind my eyes I’m hiding
and he tells me I pushed him away
that my heart’s been hard to find

here
there must be something here
there must be something here
here

baker baker can you explain
if truly his heart was made of icing
and I wonder how mine could taste
maybe we could change his mind

 I know you’re late for your next parade
you came to make sure that I’m not running
well I ran from him in all kinds of ways
guess it was his turn this time

time
thought I’d make friends with time
thought we’d be flying
maybe not this time

baker baker baking a cake
make me a day
make me whole again
and I wonder if he’s ok
if you see him say hi

Favorite lyrics:

had a northern lad
well not exactly had
he moved like the sunset
god who painted that
first he loved my accent
how his knees could bend
I thought we’d be ok
me and my molasses
but I feel something is wrong
but I feel this cake just isn’t done
don’t say that you don’t
and if you could see me now
said if you could see me now
girls you’ve got to know
when it’s time to turn the page


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