Sinead O’Connor’s second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, followed in 1990 and helped her build on her success.
It was critically acclaimed and the NME named it their second best album of the year.
It contained the song, Nothing Compares 2 U, which was a huge hit all over the world, particularly in her home country where it was the 8th most successful single of the decade.
That year she joined Roger Walters from Pink Floyd in Berlin where they performed Pink Floyd’s big hit, The Wall.
Upsetting Frank Sinatra
She also recorded the song, You Do Something To Me, for the album Red Hot and Blue which was to raise funds for AIDS awareness.
However, she managed to upset Frank Sinatra when she refused to perform in the USA if the national anthem was played before the concert.
Sinatra said he would ‘kick her ass’. She was nominated for four grammy awards but withdrew her name from consideration.
In 1992 she released her third album, Am I Not Your Girl? It was an album of songs that she had listened to as a child.
Controversy – Saturday night Live
Later that year she was involved in a huge controversy as she sang on Saturday Night Live in the US. She performed War by Bob Marley but changed the subject matter of the song from racism to child abuse. When she sang the word ‘evil’, she held up a photo of the Pope and ripped it up.
It was in protest against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and at the end of the performance she said ‘fight the real enemy’ and threw the ripped pieces towards the cameras.
Everybody was shocked, including the Saturday Night Live producers. In the rehearsals she had held up a photo of a refugee child. They had no idea what she had planned to do.
The audience didn’t know whether to boo or applaud and just sat there in silence. However, after the shock died down, the network received 4,400 complaints.
Criticism from other stars
O’Connor was widely criticised. Joe Pesci, who hosted the following week’s show apologised to the audience and said that if she had done it on his show he would have smacked her. He also ripped up a photo of O’Connor.
The incident also gave Madonna, who had previously been involved in a war of words with O’Connor, ammunition for her next shot. Madonna said: “I think there is a better way to present her ideas rather than ripping up an image that means a lot to other people.”
She also mocked O’Connor next time she appeared on Saturday Night Live by tearing up a photo of Body shop owner, Joey Buttafuoco, and saying “fight the real enemy”.
Early life and career
Controversy on Saturday Night Live
Exploring different syles of music and working with other stars
Retirement form music
Sinead O’Cconnor videos
Singers main page