This was initially a B-side of Amos' debut solo single, "Me And a Gun." The decision to release it in the UK came after Radio One named it "Song Of The Week." It was Amos' first chart entry in the UK peaking at #51. Nine months later, after the success of "Winter," it was re-released this time reaching #26. In the United States it was released on cassette as her first single.
Amos explained to Rolling Stone how her niece helped her to pull through a difficult period in which she was struggling to locate her self (and solo album material) after the failure of her first record, Y Kant Tori Read. Said Amos: "I think when you're attacked for something that you've been doing since before you could talk - and again, we're talking about deep respect, its misrepresentation, and you think, 'Oh geez, I don't want to become a Mrs. Representation.' And you're in your twenties, saying, 'I'm only in my twenties and it's over.' And I think, 'By the time you're 25, they will say you've gone and blown it.' [Lyrics from "Curtain Call," from Abnormally Attracted to Sin] It comes from that period of time. So I was with my niece Cody, who was a little girl at the time, and she's very much a part of 'Silent All These Years,' because she loved fairytales and stories, and we would share the Little Mermaid story - Hans Christian Andersen and the idea that she'd lost her voice - and watching Cody respond to this young woman giving up her essence and power, all for something else, and in that moment, I realized that when she had no voice, that just completely took me to the place where I needed to go to reclaim it."
Amos said on VH1 Storytellers that she originally wrote this song with Al Stewart in mind to sing it, and her then boyfriend Eric Rosse, who was producing some other songs Amos had composed, heard it and told her, "You're out of your mind. That's your life story."
Erik from Bloomfield Hills, MiTori, your lyrics have provided a loner like myself hope. Somehow, these lyrics are immortal to me. You have touched me in ways you may have dared thought were impossible. I can't say exactly how this happened, but somehow, these lyrics have told me that it is never too late to reclaim anyone you think you may have lost in your life. Thank you, Tori.