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Fiona Apple’s Bad, Bad Girl Moments

The singer’s most memorable outbursts, oddities and music industry rebellions

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It seems that as long as Fiona Apple has been with us, she's been as infamous as she has been famous: tear-streaked interviews, public confessions, punking an entire awards show in a single acceptance speech. All her crazy behavior earned her a rep and at the same time, made her an icon. This week Apple releases the first single off her forthcoming The Idler Wheel, and so we revisit the moments when Fiona's been a bad, bad girl.

By Jessica Hopper

fiona apple

Epic

Her 90-Word Album Title

What better way to politely flout the conventions of the music industry than giving your album a 90-word long title? Apple’s hotly-anticipated second album, 1999’s 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, cause you'll know that you're right is a poem the singer wrote after reading letters reacting to her MTV speech. Typically, Apple is unapologetic: "To anyone who has ever made fun of me for doing that, I say this: Are you in the Guinness Book Of World Records?". Unfortunately, she only held the title for eight years, bested by a Soulwax album in 2007 with 100 more characters to its name.

fiona apple

Patrick McMullan/Liaison

Her Boyfriend, the Magician

Though Apple has had relationships with other mercurial and famous men (Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson, Bored to Death-creator Jonathan Ames) it’s her late-Nineties relationship with magician/illusionist David Blaine that was the most curious – the pairing humanized him, and gave her a weird cultural cache; she wasn’t dating a guy in a band, she was dating a guy in an ice block.

fiona apple

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Her Big Mouth

When she starts a sentence with "To be totally honest," it’s redundant. There is no Fiona tamping down how she feels or not answering a journalist’s probing question, even if, as it did in her 1997 Rolling Stone Q&A, it means answering through a veil of her own tears.

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Criminal Video

Though "Criminal" was the fourth single off her multi-Platinum debut, Tidal, it might as well have been the only one – the Mark Romanek-directed video is how the world remembers Apple best: all of 19, lithe and lolling around a poorly lit tract house in her underwear. Controversy ensued – critics assailed the singer for the creepy porn overtones, comic Janeane Garafalo mocked her for being too skinny. In a fit a feminist sedition, Apple claimed she disrobed in order to exploit herself on her own terms, before anyone else had the chance to.

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