Sinead O’Connor, who topped charts with song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, dies

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor, known for topping the charts around the world with the 1990 song “Nothing Compares 2 U”, has died at the age of 56. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinead,” the singer’s family said on Wednesday. No cause was disclosed. She was public about her mental illness, saying that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Brash and outspoken — her shaved head, pained expression, and shapeless wardrobe a direct challenge to popular culture’s long-prevailing notions of femininity and sexuality — O’Connor changed the image of women in music in the early 1990s. She was a star from her 1987 debut album “The Lion and the Cobra” and became a sensation in 1990 with her cover of Prince’s ballad “Nothing Compares 2 U”, a seething, shattering performance that topped charts from Europe to Australia and was heightened by a promotional video featuring the gray-eyed O’Connor in intense close-up. The video has subsequently been viewed almost 400 million times on YouTube. “Nothing Compares 2 U” got three Grammy nominations and was the featured track off her acclaimed album “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”, which helped lead Rolling Stone to name her Artist of the Year in 1991.
She was a lifelong non-conformist — she would say that she shaved her head in response to record executives pressuring her to be conventionally glamorous — but her political and cultural stances and troubled private life often overshadowed her music. She feuded with Frank Sinatra over her refusal to allow the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at one of her shows and accused Prince of physically threatening her. In 1989 she declared her support for the Irish Republican Army, a statement she retracted a year later. Acritic of the Catholic Church, O’Connor made headlines in October 1992 when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II while appearing live on “Saturday Night Live” and denounced the church as the enemy. Days later, she appeared at an all-star tribute for Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden and was booed. “Everyone wants a pop star” she wrote in her memoir “Rememberings”. “But I am a protest singer. I just had stuff to get off my chest. I had no desire for fame. ” She converted to Islam in 2018 and changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat, though continued to perform under the name Sinead O’Connor.

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