A Jackie, a-Jackie, a-Jackie's strength
A Jackie, a-Jackie, a-Jackie, hey

A Bouvier till her wedding day
Shots rang out the police came
Mama laid me on the front lawn
And prayed for Jackie's strength
Feeling old by twenty one
Never thought my day would come
My bridesmaids getting laid
I pray for Jackie's strength
Make me laugh
Say you know what you want
You said we were the real thing
So I show you some more and I learn
What black magic can do
Make me laugh
Say you know you can turn
Me into the real thing
So I show you some more and I learn

Stickers licked on lunch boxes
Worshiping David Cassidy
Yeah I mooned him once on Donna's box
She's still in recovery
Sleep-overs Beene's got some pot
You're only popular with anorexia
So I turn myself inside out
In hope someone will see

Make me laugh
Say you know what you want
You said we were the real thing
So I show you some more and I learn
What black magic can do
Make me laugh
Say you know you can turn
Me into the real thing
So I show you some more
And I learn

A Jackie, a-Jackie, a-Jackie's strength
A Jackie, a-Jackie, a-Jackie, hey

I got lost on my wedding day
Typical, the police came
But virgins always get backstage
No matter what they've got to say
If you love enough you'll lie a lot
Guess they did in Camelot
Mama's waiting on my front lawn
I pray I pray
I said pray For Jackie's strength
Strength
Make me laugh
Say you know what you want
You said we were the real thing
So I show you some more and I learn

A Jackie, a-Jackie, a-Jackie's strength
A Jackie, a-Jackie, a-Jackie, hey


Lyrics submitted by kevin

Jackie's Strength Lyrics as written by Tori Amos

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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Jackie's Strength song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment"Inspired by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. "I saw Jackie as a bride - and I used to think I would never be a bride. I started to look to Jackie and how that woman held the country together after she watched her husband get cut down right in front of her."

    "This wonderful boy had asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes, but I was shocked. You know, there was a part of me that had sworn that would never happen. You fantasize about what it would be like on that day, and then you fantasize about never having that day. Then you're a vigilante and you will never have it. The, all of a sudden, there it is, and you're wondering, 'are we going to make it? half of all marriages end in divorce. is that us?' That was all going on as I got lost on my wedding day."

    merchantpierceon May 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment'you're only popular with anorexia.' oh man, talk about a powerful lyric &if you analyze it far enough, it's so true.
    readysetscreamon June 19, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis whole part, to me:

    stickers licked on lunch boxes
    worshipping David Cassidy
    yeah I mooned him once on Donna's box
    she's still in recovery
    sleep-overs Beene's got some pot
    you're only popular with anorexia
    so I turn myself inside out
    in hope someone will see

    Talks about the thrill of being free and immaturity. And sticking to immaturity. Your pre-wedding and pre-relationship time. Hanging out with friends, not wanting to give that up.
    stentorianon March 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI LOVE this song! But the line "You're only popular with anorexia." bothers me somewhat, because it's true.
    Ex0duson December 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"You said we were the real thing," is a guy lying to her to get what he wants... so she needs Jackie's strength to get through it.

    Make me laugh
    Say you know
    What you want
    So I show
    You some more
    And I learn
    What black magic can do

    Is her learning about the pain that can come from showing someone too much.
    infiniteentropyon January 25, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis has been my favorite Tori song for a long time, given its great depth of personal expression interwoven with the political tragedy of a country and the woman who led the country through its grief with her emotional strength.

    I love JBBonBon's analysis of "the real thing", but I have a slightly different interpretation of one line in particular. I don't think Tori is saying "He made her laugh and reveal herself in ways she wouldn't have because he was disarming." I think she is well past that point when she sings this song, and is saying, bitterly, "Go ahead: you wanna make me laugh? Tell me again how 'you know what you want.' It would make me laugh, you know, because you never knew what you wanted. Its funny, but still, knowing that now has left me so stunned and hurt. I actually listened to you when you said we 'were the real thing.' I believed you, and I poured myself open for you to learn who I am. And what did I get? Well, I learned too. I learned what black magic can do." Whether it is his black magic for carelessly misleading her -- or the black magic she develops when she becomes aware of his betrayal -- is left delightfully ambiguous.

    For the second half of the chorus, she basically repeats the same sentiment: "Yeah, that's right, you wanna make me laugh again? Tell me one more time how *you* are gonna turn *me* into the "real thing." I actually wanted to be that "real thing" you know (sick!), and so I may have opened up to you, but that mistake has cost me dearly, and now, how I have learned."

    Hope someone else finds something in that analysis that resonates, or even wants to debate it. I never find people eager to discuss the meaning of Tori's poetry. It's good to be here with y'all.
    toxiccuteon May 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAfter seeing the video clip I am more leaning towards the thought that these words are not being said to the groom but actually to herself- she is having a talk to herself- part of her makes her laugh with its naive youthful outlook on things -yet another part keeps exposing her to the real world-show more- so she can see the black magic in the world and not be fooled by the idealized lifestyles such as that of Jackie K and David C that portrait perfection but actually this is not true- not the real thing!
    Womenruleon January 11, 2015   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningIt's a very feminist song. Jackie Kennedy was widely considered one of the strongest women of the 1960s because of how she handled the JFK assassination and aftermath. Tori was born in Aug 1963, with the shooting of JFK happening in Nov 1963, so it's basically her way of recognizing that there was an extremely heavy feminine influence over her life since the beginning. The song tells memories of dealing with the perils of being a female throughout her life. The chorus is the most telling:

    "make me laugh
    say you know what you want
    you said we were the real thing
    so I show you some more and I learn
    what black magic can do"

    This is basically every girl dealing with a boy for the first time. The boy's telling her whatever he has to in order to get in her pants, then once she gives up the goods he dumps her and she learns the hard way she's been tricked.

    The second verse is elementary school (lunchboxes, david cassidy from the partrich family), middle school (sleepovers, smoking pot) and high school where life for a girl is suddenly all about looking perfect:

    "you're only popular with anorexia
    so I turn myself inside out
    in hope someone will see"

    In the last verse is some scattered thoughts resulting in another reference to Jackie and JFK:

    "if you love enough you'll lie alot
    guess they did in Camelot "

    Camelot is what Jackie called the White House.

    All in all, this is a very sad song because it recognizes the hardships of being female while simultaneously thinking about troubles of the past. I can't listen to it without crying every time.
    musichatesmeon July 07, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song bc 1. my name is jackie 2. i was named after jackie o and 3. tori amos rox my sox!
    babyMEon June 21, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinitely inspired by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and how she was incredibly strong in the face of tragedy and how not everyone can be as strong.
    Misha26on July 11, 2002   Link

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