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Sinead O'Connor

Sinéad O'Connor ranked among the most distinctive and controversial pop music stars of the alternative era, the first and in many ways, the most influential of the numerous female performers whose music dominated airwaves throughout the last decade of the 20th century. Brash and outspoken -- her shaved head, angry visage, and shapeless wardrobe a direct challenge to popular culture's long-prevailing notions of femininity and sexuality -- O'Connor irrevocably altered the image of women in rock; railing against long-standing stereotypes simply by asserting herself not as a sex object, but as a serious artist, she kick-started a revolt which led the way for performers ranging from Liz Phair to Courtney Love to Alanis Morissette.

O'Connor was born in Dublin, Ireland, on December 8, 1966. Her childhood was often traumatic: her parents divorced when she was eight, and she later claimed that her mother, who was killed in a 1985 automobile accident, frequently abused her. After being expelled from Catholic school, O'Connor was arrested for shoplifting and was shuttled off to a reformatory; at the age of 15, while singing a cover of Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen" at a wedding, she was spotted by Paul Byrne, the drummer for the Irish band In Tua Nua (best known as protégés of U2). After co-writing the first In Tua Nua single, "Take My Hand," O'Connor left boarding school in order to focus on a career in music, and began performing in area coffeehouses; she later studied voice and piano at the Dublin College of Music, and supported herself delivering singing telegrams.

Upon signing a contract with Ensign Records in 1985, O'Connor relocated to London; the following year she made her recorded debut on the soundtrack to the film The Captive, appearing with U2 guitarist the Edge. After scrapping the initial tapes for her debut LP on the grounds that the production was too Celtic, she took the producer's seat herself and began re-recording the album, dubbed The Lion and the Cobra in reference to Psalm 91; the result was one of the most acclaimed debut records of 1987, with a pair of alternative radio hits in the singles "Mandinka" and "Troy." Almost from the outset of her career, however, O'Connor was a controversial media figure; in interviews following the LP's release, she defended the actions of the IRA, resulting in widespread criticism from many corners, and even burned bridges by attacking longtime supporters U2, whose music she declared "bombastic."

However, O'Connor remained a cult figure prior to the release of 1990's chart-topping I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, a harrowing masterpiece sparked by the recent dissolution of her marriage to drummer John Reynolds. Boosted by the single and video "Nothing Compares 2 U," originally penned by Prince, the album established her as a major star, but again controversy followed as tabloids took aim at her romance with black singer Hugh Harris while continuing to attack her outspoken politics. On American shores, O'Connor also became the target of derision for refusing to perform in New Jersey if "The Star Spangled Banner" was played prior to her appearance, a move which brought public criticism from no less than Frank Sinatra, who threatened to "kick her a**"; she also made headlines for pulling out of an appearance on the NBC program Saturday Night Live in response to the misogynist persona of guest host Andrew Dice Clay, and even withdrew her name from competition in the annual Grammy Awards despite four nominations.

O'Connor also continued to confound expectations with her third album, 1992's Am I Not Your Girl?, a collection of pop standards and torch songs that failed to live up to either the commercial or critical success of I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. However, any discussion of the record's creative merits quickly became moot in the wake of her most controversial and damaging action yet: after finally appearing on Saturday Night Live, O'Connor ended her performance by ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II, resulting in a wave of condemnation unlike any she'd previously encountered. Two weeks after the SNL performance, she appeared at a Bob Dylan tribute concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, and was promptly booed off the stage.

By then a virtual pariah, O'Connor's retirement from the music business was subsequently reported, although it was later claimed that she had merely returned to Dublin with the intent of studying opera. She kept a low profile for the next several years, starring as Ophelia in a theatrical production of Hamlet and later touring with Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival. She also reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown and even made a half-hearted attempt at suicide. In 1994, however, O'Connor returned to pop music with the LP Universal Mother, which, despite good reviews, failed to relaunch her to superstar status; the following year she announced that she would no longer speak to the press. The Gospel Oak EP followed in 1997, and in mid-2000 O'Connor issued Faith and Courage, her first full-length effort in six years. Sean-Nós Nua followed two years later, and was widely hailed for its return to the Irish folk tradition as its inspiration.

O'Connor used the press exposure from the album to further assert her pending retirement from music. In September 2003, the two-disc She Who Dwells... appeared through Vanguard. It collected rare and previously unreleased studio tracks, as well as live material culled from a late 2002 date in Dublin. The album was positioned as O'Connor's swan song, though official word was not forthcoming. Collaborations followed in 2005, a compilation of appearances on other artists' records throughout her long career. Later that year she released Throw Down Your Arms, a collection of reggae classics from the likes of Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, and Bob Marley that managed to reach the number four spot on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart. O'Connor returned to the studio the following year to begin work on her first album of all-new material since Faith and Courage. The resulting Theology, inspired by the complexities of the world post-9/11, was released in 2007 through Koch Records on the artist's own imprint, That's Why There's Chocolate & Vanilla. O'Connor's ninth studio, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, tackled familiar subjects like sexuality, religion, hope, and despair, all of which were subjects that dominated her post-Theology personal and public life. After a relatively quiet period, O'Connor found herself once again embroiled in controversy in 2013 after a personal dispute with singer Miley Cyrus, who O'Connor wrote an open letter to warning her of exploitation and the dangers of the music industry. Cyrus also responded with an open letter, which seemed to mock the Irish singer's documented mental health issues. O'Connor's tenth studio album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss appeared in August of 2014. Inspired by a Lean In's female empowerment campaign, Ban Bossy, the album was a rock-oriented and melodious affair as heard on the lead single "Take Me to the Church." ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Take Me To Church (Single)

Comments

meynard247
Yay Sinead for standing up for your faith in God!
Sinead changed me in a positive way, because of her music, I became the person that I am today and I'm grateful and so blessed to be part of this life time where this opportunity to learn her music has been granted by God, my love goes out to her and her kids, we love us some Ms. O'Connor!!
Sinead, you're an inspiration to me - a guy who grew up in the 60's and adores spirited people. Keep on keepin' on.
She has a wonderful voice and her eyes speak of such sadness and hardships...
*probably (below) hey, probably provably too, if you should count disapproving media stories about notable rappers, vs. those about Sinead!
Bless God, and bless Pandora, a lane in today's Roman Road, the internet, where people meet people and then people meet Christ... I last recall Sinead being ripped on TV, being called "Sine Aid" after the cold remedy, etc. That she's attacked rather than some cop killer, doggy-style rapper is provably shown in the fact that this song I'm hearing 1st time, is CHRISTIAN! - maybe CCM stations fear her as the first Christians feared Saul-turned- P a u l . Thx for good bio, all new to me, Pandora!
Sinead has my support forever.
Love sinead
she is one of worlds true talent very underrated here in usa
clmcnerny1
And she is beautiful! Miley Cyrus is..
clmcnerny1
Sinead cut her hair for a good reason, not to get attention like Miley. I'm 9. My generation is traumatizing :-(
Karen carpenter did best rendition of this song
Another thing, I don't know why everyone got all hot and bothered with her for ripping up the picture of the pope. DOSE ANYONE ACTUALLY KNOW PAPAL HISTORY! HELLO Borgia, a completely corrupt establishmen t that has been able to shape most of the western world, look up Constantine and the Nisan Creed then come back and tell me how you feel about all your sacred holidays! They stem from the Catholic Church trying to align Christianity with Pagan rituals so that they could bring in more pagans!
Sinead's voice is a wonder of the world! She has REAL talent SCREW that twerking freak Sinead is the real deal and unafraid to be REAL!! LOVE YOU SINEAD!!
Sinead is one of a kind in many ways. I'm so blessed because of her music I became the Christian that I am today it's always a such an exciting time to see her play live. I'm so glad she's coming back to L.A. in Nov of this year, much love to a great artist that has no competition in the industry.
lindajoymill e r
Being real and unafraid' Love her.
crkealy
Wow i like her voice!!!! I love this song!!!!
evertdarryl
Was fortunate enough to see her only show in New York City at the Beacon Theater. Sinead was absolutely amazing. Was a musical highlight for me!!!! Forever thankful.
Sinead O'Connor is one of the GREATEST TALENTS I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. Outspoken, beautiful, brave, courageous.. . . g o r g e o u s music, gorgeous woman & soul. I esp. like Nothing Compares To You, Black Boys on Mopeds, & Mandika. I can't say enough positive things about her. So glad she's still alive on planet earth! Many Blessings, Sinead O'Connor! ~A fan in Vermont, USA xo :)
I loved the pope comment, she ended up being right.
Okay, booger. O s**t your like me. lmao. Perhaps I'm f*g baby. Lets keep it simple. buggers. I forgot to think about the things I f**ked up about. O' I'm so dead.
I applauded her 'Pope incident. Saw it live. She said something before she tore the picture & they cut the camera away. Something like; this is the real enemy or , fight the real enemy. All the molestation rumors were coming true, along with what was happening in Ireland. I could understand her aignst, yet I also figured that'd be the end of her fame. Still one of my favorites & I feel one of the greatest female artists of the 20th century.
I forgot the word be. I want Ice Cream and a beer, and my boots taken off, and a bl**job would be good, the bills paid, Sunday football after Church, I love these women. S**t.
While in the hospital, I was offered ordainment - and I thought I was going to read my last rights. The Pope is to white; rather to Italian - get some sun! She has a beautiful heart, and that indeed is plain to see. Too losing my virginity, wait, I'm a man - did I just make a connection with women (hell no, I don't understand women). Laughing.
I met her briefly. She's sweet and unpretentiou s . All the s**t she got during her career was for simply being honest. 99% of artists don't speak their minds because so many of their fans are closed-minde d and judgmental, and they don't want to risk not being invited to red carpet events. Sinead has had some things to say, and the courage to say them whether some of us agree with then or not. If I saw her again, I'd give her a warm hug and kiss. She has a beautiful heart and that is plain to see
O' crappola, I'm for the French. Can't speak it. Too Napoleon. Now I know why I fell for this one years ago. Pero,.. Too Joan of Ark.
I was thinking free. Imperialism, globalism, tear that s**t up. What? I'm all...como estas amor'e. Resist temptation.
Means crazy in her head ( loco de la cabeza in spanish)
Loco de la cabeza but beautiful voice
; ) and song
She is loony but what an artist!
lov this song
reilly.ka
good ol sinead :)
webersf
She is special !
TRULY ONE OF THE MOST GIFTED SINGER/SONGW R I T E R S OF THE LAST 20 YRS. ITS A SHAME HER CAREER WAS DERAILED BY THE POPE INCIDENT. TO BAD SHE PICKED THE MOST POPULAR POPE IN THE LAST CENTURY TO ATTACK. SHOULD HAVE WAITED FOR THIS CURRENT ONE. STILL SHE RANKS AMONG MY TOP 3 FEMALE VOCALIST. LOVE YA SINEAD
much like sister Yoko. Strong individuals♥ .
So, so talented. Such a shame that she couldn't overcome the Pope debaucle. Yet, we embrace Charlie Sheen. I'll never understand some things... Amazing talent, Sinead!
try looking on you tube
ciprichvz
would like to listen to song Nothing compares to U'don't know how to get to it, someone please tell me how, Thx.
282918337
I love her, always have always will..painti n g the house..going through all these musicians and i said to myself..Who can really sing? Who's music do i really like? I like her! :)) xoxo
reneecyonnet t i
I truely appreciate this woman music, you really got to look through the lace curtains to understand her mental beauty what an Artist, amazing!!!
DAHAMMMM! shes HOAUGHT
If all of us women had her courage and principles.. . You go, girl!
Thanks Mary Ann R., and others for setting it straight! I'll check out Universal Mother & Theology, but so many more are good. Don't know if I've heard one that was just plain bad. Blessings, Sinead. And to so many others, "Throw down your arms." PS "Similar Artists"??? "Difficult to find" is an understateme n t ! Blessings again!
An extremely powerful and beautiful voice, with statements as equally important. My favorite artist of all!
If you have not bought Universal mother or Theology they are an absolute must!!! Sinead is still such an amazing standout for her messages and her voice. I hope she keeps recording for a long time to come. I will be watching and waiting, ready to buy and listen - Anytime, Any Age, any Place!
queenmabthef i r s t
This 'bio' reads like tawdry tabloids, for the mostpart! Sinead called out alot of corruption. The Catholic Church was widely detrimental to the Irish - women in particular - for multiple abuses -as has recently come to light. Why wouldn't she rip up the pope's picture? Who cares if old blue eyes threatened an a** whooping?
Thank you, Sinead. For your bravery and your beautiful music.
Sinead ... love her powerful, emotional music. And yes, she is stunning.
I remember being ten and watching the "Nothing Compares to You" video and thinking what a beautiful woman she was. I love this song, her strength and expression, her. Thank you Sinead for being fierce in your convictions and a strong woman to look up to.
cweedma
Just wanna listen to the song '"nothing compares to you
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