Fiona Apple released her first album, Tidal, in 1996. She was 19 at the time. Apple’s voice is smoky and haunting. She’s part Cat Power, part St. Vincent, and part PJ Harvey. Musically, she draws from alternative rock, pop, and jazz. She was classically trained on the piano and heavily influenced by Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
Apple has covered songs as wide ranging as The Beatles’ “Across the Universe,” Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son,” Elvis Costello’s “I Want You,” and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Her music has been commercially and critically successful. Apple’s first release, Tidal, was certified 3x Platinum and her sophomore effort was certified Platinum. She has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards and has won one.
Apple’s third album, Extraordinary Machine, took three years to make and was the subject of a fan-led campaign to save the work from the dustbin. It was believed that her label was delaying its release because of its lack of commercial appeal. That was not true. It was Apple who held the album back because she didn’t like its direction. Once released, Extraordinary Machine found its way onto several year-end “best of” lists.
Apple’s main claim to fame though is her album titles.
The title to her fourth studio release is 23 words long:
The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do
It’s usually truncated to “The Idler Wheel…”
That’s nothing compared to the label of her second studio album. The title to that work is 90 words long…
When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right.
Usually shortened to “When the Pawn…” the full-length title was in the Guinness Book of Records for half a dozen years. It lost the distinction of world’s longest album title in 2007 to Soulwax and their “Most of the Remixes…” That album’s full title contains more than 100 words.
Apple was briefly married to a French photographer and has had romantic relationships with magician David Blaine and director Paul Thomas Anderson. In 2012, Apple was arrested in Sierra Blanca, Texas for possessing hashish.
The singer once postponed a tour because her dog was ill. She canceled several dates of another tour due to family issues. She is also known for having one of the most famous onstage meltdowns after technical problems plagued her show at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. Even so, Fiona Apple tickets are usually in high demand.
Apple was born Sept. 13, 1977 to singer Diana McAfee and character actor Brandon Maggart. Her sister is a cabaret singer and her half-brother is an actor. Apple was raped when she was 12 and in the wake of the trauma developed an eating disorder.