Sinéad O'Connor is an Irish pop singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. O'Connor achieved worldwide success in 1990 with a cover of the song "Nothing Compares 2 U". In addition to her nine solo albums her work includes many singles, songs for films, collaborations with many other artists, and appearances at charity fundraising concerts. She has released eight studio albums, one extended play, one live collection, four video albums, and thirty-four singles.
O'Connor's first two albums, 1987's The Lion and the Cobra and 1990s I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, gained considerable attention and mostly positive reviews. She was praised for her voice and her original songs. She was also noted for her appearance: her trademark shaved head, often angry expression, and sometimes shapeless or unusual clothing.
The album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got contained her international breakthrough hit "Nothing Compares 2 U", a song written by Prince and originally recorded and released by a side project of his, The Family. Aided by a memorable and well received video by John Maybury which consisted almost solely of O'Connor's face as she performed the song, it became a massive international hit, reaching #1 in several countries. In Ireland it hit the top spot in July 1990 and remained there for 11 weeks; it is the eighth most successful single of the decade there. It had similar success in the UK and in Germany. In Australia, it reached #1 on the Top 100. It also claimed the #1 spot on the Hot 100 chart in the USA. She also received Grammy nominations including Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. She eventually won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance, but boycotted the award show.
Public Enemy's Hank Shocklee remixed the album's next single, "The Emperor's New Clothes", for a 12-inch that was coupled with the Celtic funk of "I Am Stretched On Your Grave." Pre-dating but included on I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got was also "Jump in the River", which originally appeared on the Married to the Mob soundtrack; the 12-inch version of the single had included a remix featuring performance artist Karen Finley.
In 1990, she joined many other guests for former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters' massive performance of The Wall in Berlin. In 1991, her take on Elton John's "Sacrifice" was acclaimed as one of the best efforts on the tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. She toured with Lollapalooza in 1995, but dropped out when she became pregnant. The Gospel Oak EP followed in 1997, and featured songs based in an acoustic setting.
Faith and Courage was released in 2000, including the single "No Man's Woman", and featured contributions from Wyclef Jean of the Fugees and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics. On the eve of its release, O'Connor came out as a lesbian, and then retracted the statement.
Her 2002 album, Sean-Nós Nua, marked a departure in that O'Connor interpreted or, in her own words, "sexed up" traditional Irish folk songs, including several in the Irish language. In Sean-Nós Nua, she covered a well-known Canadian folk song, Peggy Gordon, interpreted as a song of lesbian, rather than heterosexual, love. In her documentary, Song of Hearts Desire, she stated that her inspiration for the song was her friend, a lesbian who sang the song to lament the loss of her partner.
In 2003, she released a double album, She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty. The album contained one disc of demos and previously unreleased tracks and one disc of a live concert recording. Directly after the album's release, O'Connor announced her retirement from music.
Ultimately, after a brief period of inactivity and a bout with fibromyalgia, her retirement proved to be short-lived. The reggae album Throw Down Your Arms appeared in late 2005 and was greeted with positive reviews. Theology which featured the singles "If You Had a Vineyard" and "Jeremiah (Something Beautiful)", was released in June 2007. The first single from the album, the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber classic "I Don't Know How to Love Him", was released on 30 April 2007.