Sinead O’Connor 1966-2023

She came to prominence during the early 90’s with the smash hit “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Sinead O’Connor 1966-2023

Sinead O’Connor came to prominence during the early 90’s with the smash hit “Nothing Compares 2 U”, and she had one of the most distinctive voices in music. Today, the famous and controversial Irish singer passed away at age 56.

Sinead O’Connor was born on December 8, 1966, in Dublin, Ireland. Her music career started when she was discovered by a local drummer of the popular Irish band In Tua Nua and co-wrote their hit song “Take My Hand.” Before finishing school, O’Connor ran away from home, she began working for a singing telegram service and played guitar on the street and in pubs. While performing with a Dublin band called Ton Ton Macoute, O’Connor caught the attention of the two owner-managers of a small London record label called Ensign Records. Ensign released her debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra”, on October 25, 1987. Critics lauded O’Connor’s powerful and expressive voice and noted the complexity of her songs, even while acknowledging their decidedly uncommercial nature. Though it had no major hit singles, the album eventually sold over 2,500,000 copies worldwide. On March 20, 1990, O’Connor released her second album, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”, the bald-headed singer-songwriter became an international star. Driven by the phenomenal success of the smash hit single “Nothing Compares 2 U” written by Prince and first recorded by a band called The Family in 1985, the album shot to the top of the Billboard charts and nabbed O’Connor four Grammy Award nominations including Best Album, Best Song, Best Female Vocalist, and Best Alternative Album. The video for “Nothing Compares 2 U” won the MTV Award for Video of the Year, and O’Connor was named Artist of the Year in 1991 by Rolling Stone. On October 3, 1992, Sinéad O’Connor appeared on Saturday Night Live as a musical guest. She performed an a cappella cover of Bob Marley’s “War” rewriting a few of the lyrics to address child abuse, in addition to the song’s initial topics of racism and the horrors of war. She then presented a photo of Pope John Paul II to the camera while singing the word “evil,” after which she tore the photo into pieces, said “Fight the real enemy,” and threw the pieces towards the camera. After the SNL performance controversy always seems to follow the Irish singer. In late 2015, O’Connor experienced some type of mental health crisis. She wrote two notes indicating that she was suicidal on her Facebook page before her family requested that the page is taken down. O’Connor was reportedly hospitalized after her first Facebook post. In May 2016 O’Connor went missing for a day while biking in Chicago, only to be found by authorities soon after. She then proceeded to write about her personal struggles again on Facebook, this time a scathing attack on her family, blaming them for her mental health crisis. O’Connor has released eight studio albums since 1990 none of which garnished the critical or commercial success of “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”. In October 2018, O’Connor converted to Islam, calling it “the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey.” She also changed her name to Shuhada’ Davitt. In a message on Twitter, she thanked fellow Muslims for their support and uploaded a video of herself singing the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer. More recently one of her children passed away, causing her to take a break from her career. In 2022 the documentary “Nothing Compares” was released, focusing on the singer’s life and career. She has passed away today at age 56. RIP.

Look back at the iconic 1990 music video for “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor

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