Remembering Sinéad O'Connor
I was waiting for your write up.
This record and her talent is, of course, unmatched. But her ruthless bravery in speaking truth to power is what will always hit me....I think her "career killing" moment in SNL shaped who I am as a person more than anything else. And it did destroy her in a lot of ways, to continue to speak truth to power, but she never stopped. I have some experience with the consequences of refusal to stay silent in the face of abuse. But I don't ever plan on getting quiet, and I owe a lot of that to her.
I too almost blew out a few pairs speakers on Troy, as well as my then untrained voice trying to hit the high notes. Worth it. This one hit me hard.
FYI, Joshua Ray Walker's new album has a cover of Nothing Compares. He WRECKED Lizzo's "Cuz I Luv You" (in the best way) with the lead single, so it should destroy.
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard her sing on the song called Heroine from the soundtrack the Edge did for the 1986 movie, Captive. I listened to the song on repeat again and again for weeks, marveling at the exquisite haunting beauty of her voice.
It was the same way with every song on The Lion and the Cobra album... it is, truly, a masterpiece. While I Don’t Want What I Haven’t Got wasn’t nearly as good, both albums take me immediately back to a time I can taste, touch and feel. She was an artist and her impact.... immeasurable.
Thanks for this, Colin. I know you listen to books on Audible. Just this spring I listened to Sinead's memoir "Rememberings" which is also read by her, making it more cogent and poignant. Highly recommended.
Thanks for writing that Colin. Man, this one hurts. As a teenager I couldn't understand how the Lion and the Cobra didn't take over the world. She never stopped either. Take Me To Church and The Wolf Is Getting Married remain favorites, along with her amazing cover of John Grant's Queen of Denmark. That absolutely blew me away the 1st time I heard it. Seeing her perform Jackie, Jerusalem and Troy in 1990 was unforgettable. So many wonderful songs. RIP.
I mentioned I was introduced to Sinead by a mix tape in an earlier post, 1988 and I even dug it out! It occurred to me just now that I remember when I bought the lp, a screaming cover (John at Fantasia Records in Los Banos got anything and everything and loved digging up imports and indies!!!), and I bought The Final Cut and Long Cold Winter at the same time. I still have two of those three vinyls, although regret purging that bluesy hair metal now :) Anyway, it was a revelation that a woman could singvsweet AND angry, it had always been sn either/or before. It's great seeing the tributes of so many of those rocking women that started wrecking things in the early 90s paying tribute.
Also, a lifetime later, some friends and I built up a pub to the soundtrack of Throw Down Your Arms (and a little bit of Madness), it was only a year old.
Listening to late night radio in Ireland my first introduction to Sinead was Heroine with The Edge. I too loved The Lion and the Cobra but had moved on to other things when her next album came out and never really dipped into her again. But Christ, she had the courage of 1,000 men.
From reading the wonderful stacks focusing on her this week - her death has awoken a sense of tenderness and regret, chords that her own life reverberated with. Reading your post I'm brought straight back to a night in a London flat with a very unlikely lover who played the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got to great effect. I might not have slept with him without it. This hardly seems like a fitting tribute. Yet here it comes unbidden. That's how evocative her music is.
So well said, Colin. She was very important to me and such a part of my haven away from corporate radio at the time. REM was there, the Replacements were there, NIN, Jane's Addiction... to me they were the brave truth tellers that married their deeper lyrics with fearless new sounds, arrangements and musicianship. The fact that she was Irish and dragging Irish influences into the modern musical dialect also made me proud. She lived next to Mick Maloney in my system.
Goodbye O’Connner. You were a warring angel.
My childhood memories of Sinead are less poignant, albeit somehow equally formative. I was 11, and my big sister, Mel was 13... Our folks were on the verge of relocating us unwillingly from suburban DC to rural Illinois. Riding home from our farewell party at the roller rink, we lay in the back of our dad's pickup truck, looking up at the streetlights passing by and singing Nothing Compares 2 U. It was our ode to this childhood place we were departing. I thought it was super cheesy, and I sang it loud and out of tune. And I'll love it forever for giving me that memory.
Nothing compares 2 the memories that music gives us. Thank you for sharing yours, Colin.
Oh my. I could have written most of this. I think I gave I Do Not Want.. a lot of play, though it didn't hold the same intense obsession as Lion and Cobra. I took moved onto other bands and her later stuff fell off my radar but Lion and Cobra is still one of my all time favorite albums. It's such a gorgeous piece of work. 😥
I too bought TLATC when it was released in 1987. I’m not even sure where I’d learned of it… most likely Rolling Stone or Spin. But I do remember being immediately taken by Mandinka and Troy, the powers of which I’ve been reminded these last couple days. What really strikes me now is that she was only 21 years old. Fucking 21!…with the maturity and emotional depth to write and perform this album. I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got only solidified that. The passion and pain she expressed through lyric and voice still cause me to well up… especially Black Boys on Mopeds and Last Day of Our Acquaintance. And she was only 24 by then. She was a gift.
Man, her voice was cool.
Wow! Yes, she broke a mold. I heard Mandinka
After first hearing Sinéad on that 'Captive' soundtrack by the Edge, a good friend and I drove through a ridiculous snowstorm in Boston from our college dorm to the downtown Strawberries Records (RIP as well) on the evening that the Lion and the Cobra was released... Could not get enough of that album. What a voice, what passion, what a guiding light she brought to the world.
Once again colin very well said.i saw her open for crowded house at the tower in Philadelphia. She had on a sequined body suit and looked like a hummingbird! Epic.that is all.