Sinead O’Connor has died. She was only 56 years old. The family announced her passing yesterday, but didn’t reveal the cause of death.
Suicide seems like a safe bet. Sinead had a history of mental health struggles, and her 17-year-old son Shane took his own life just last year. Last week, Sinead posted that she’s been, quote, “living as an undead night creature” since his death.
Sinead is best known for “Nothing Compares 2 U”, a song written by Prince that she took to #1 in 1990. She would later reveal that she wasn’t a fan of him as a person.
Sinead was just as well known for taking moral and political stands. That same year “Nothing Compares” made her a star, she refused to appear on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” because Andrew Dice Clay was hosting.
The following summer, she wouldn’t allow a New Jersey concert venue to play the national anthem before one of her shows . . . after which Frank Sinatra threatened to “kick her in the ass.”
In 1991, she joined Public Enemy in boycotting the Grammys to protest the Gulf War.
And then, in 1992, came the Big One: During a performance on “SNL”, Sinead sang an a cappella version of Bob Marley’s “War”. But she changed some of the lyrics to reference child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
Then at the end of the song, she yelled, “Fight the real enemy,” and ripped a picture of Pope John Paul the Second.
That got her banned from “SNL” and caused a huge uproar. Even Madonna called it “inappropriate”. (Although some would say . . . especially in hindsight . . . that she was ahead of her time.)
Sadly, her career never fully recovered, although her 2021 memoir “Rememberings”, and last year’s documentary “Nothing Compares”, did help restore her legacy.