Neither of these artists is a slam dunk favorite of mine, but both have put out music I absolutely adore. And both have trailed off later in their careers, making this more of a nostalgia pick.
My second favorite album of 1990 is Sinead O’Connor’s sophomore release, the worldwide smash I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. This was O’Connor’s second album, following the fierce The Lion and the Cobra, but the first impression many of us had of this remarkable talent.
Who can forget that impossibly beautiful porcelain face and bald head singing ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ against a black background on MTV?
As a tribute to the late icon, O’Connor sang my favorite Bowie song, ‘Life On Mars.’ At 49, she’s a lot more tattooed but still bald and beautiful, and she still (mostly) has that voice.
In late ’92, Sinead O’Connor performed her most controversial act, performing an a capella version of Bob Marley’s ‘War’ on Saturday Night Live, tying the lyrics to sex abuse in the Catholic Church, and finishing by tearing up a picture of the Pope.
That didn’t go over very well.
SNL was caught by surprise, as O’Connor has shown another picture (of a refugee child) during rehearsals. The network fielded hundreds of complaints and O’Connor became a target for politicians, religious figures and celebrities alike.
I’ve featured two very raw and angry Sinead O’Connor performances this week, so I’m changing pace with today’s cut. It’s hard to imagine a more delicate or gentle reading of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s classic Evita standout, ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.’
I’m not sure when this live orchestral performance was recorded. O’Connor included this song on her third album, 1992’s Am I Not Your Girl?, so I’m guessing it’s around then.
If you thought yesterday’s Sinead O’Connor performance was fierce, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
This performance of ‘Troy,’ also from 1988, shows O’Connor at her most raw. ‘Troy’ is a fabulous, biting broken heart song that feels more like a session in the confessional. The album performance is emotionally epic but it’s outdone by the naked ferocity on display at the Pinkpop festival in this clip.
As promised a week ago, I’m dedicating this week to the unique and extraordinary talent of Sinead O’Connor, specifically through her live performances.
Today’s clip is from O’Connor’s network television debut, on Late Night with David Letterman. Letterman had so many wonderful musical guests on his show in those early days, and right through the Late Show years.