Before her controversial antics turned her into a virtual pariah, Sinéad O'Connor was an important and interesting new artist. Her debut album, 1987's The Lion and the Cobra is still viewed as a significant album for both alternative rock and female artists. In fact, O'Connor's aggressive style set the stage for a host of female performers during the 1990's, including Liz Phair and Alanis Morissette.
For the blog, I have chosen "Mandinka," the song that really launched her career in the U.S. The video was played on MTV a bit back in the day, including on 120 Minutes (now who remembers that show?), which helped to make it a college rock hit. However, the song did not chart on the Billboard 100.
Of course, Sinéad O'Connor's follow up album, 1990's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got became a huge hit (#1 just about everywhere), led by the Prince-penned "Nothing Compares 2 U" (also #1 just about everywhere). From there, things went downhill in a hurry, as O'Connor's controversial political stands and erratic behavior hurt her popularity to the point that she was booed offstage at a Bob Dylan tribute concert. She eventually "retired" from the music industry for a number of years, although she has released new material in recent years.
Cool trivia fact: Sinéad O'Connor is a rare one hit wonder -- her only top 40 hit (the previously mentioned "Nothing Compares 2 U") was a #1 hit. "The Emperor's New Clothes," O'Connor's only other charting hit in the U.S., peaked at #60.