When it comes to crashing and burning, there aren’t many famous folks around who could teach a class on this better than Sinead O’Connor. And it was a shame, really. Her vault into ermine with a cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U was phenomenal. The song hit #1 for four consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was also a huge hit on the international front. Irish born O’Connor became a superstar on this merit of this one superior recording.
Then she went out of fashion almost as fast as she rose to the top. A disastrous appearance on Saturday Night Live did the job. Sinead held up a picture of Pope John Paul II and tore it into, venomously imploring people to “Fight the real enemy!” A couple of weeks later she was booed offstage at a live show. Her subsequent records went nowhere fast and she soon faded back into obscurity. With this one act, performed out of some kind of political motivation, she destroyed her whole career.
It has never recovered either. Twenty years on she still tours and records but only her most fervent fans, and some in her homeland, support her. She’s never cracked the US charts again and she certainly hasn’t been asked back on SNL. Yet her performance of Nothing Compares 2 U remains a classic. The video is sheer genius. She may have shot herself in the foot with gusto but she has a legendary hit to show for it. Makes one hope it was worth it.