Nothing Compares to Sinéad

Sinéad O'Connor tribute singer iconic
Sinéad O'Connor tribute singer iconic

The sad news broke yesterday evening that singer-songwriter, international icon, and national sweetheart, Sinéad O’Connor has passed away.

Sinéad was known throughout her life for her personal honesty, political activism, as well as a string of acclaimed albums and her hauntingly beautiful 1990 cover of Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’

There has been an outpouring of heartfelt tributes for the Dublin native, with actors Russell Crowe and Glenn Close leading the tributes to Sinéad. Glenn linked a song Sinéad recorded for her film ‘Albert Nobbs’ to her Instagram bio and said, ‘I applaud you, Sinéad, I applaud you, and I thank you for your fierce and fantastic spirit.’

In his tribute on Twitter, Russell shared an anecdote about an encounter he had with Sinéad outside a pub in Dalkey in 2022. He described their conversation as one ‘without fences’, saying when she left the pub, he and his friends sat there, the four of us, and variously expressed the same thing. ‘What an amazing woman. Peace be with your courageous heart, Sinéad.’

Though Sinéad has had many hit songs of different genres, from traditional Irish singing to experimental jazz and reggae, arguably her biggest hit was a cover of another late legend Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’.

Originally written and recorded by Prince, the song was given a new arrangement by Sinéad and was the standout hit on her second album, ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.’ Her first album, ‘The Lion and the Cobra,’ sold 7 million copies and was nominated for four Grammys.

Prince’s original version was released in 1985 and received little attention at the time.

Ostensibly written about a breakup, Sinéad would later say in interviews that she ‘associated the song with a loss of some kind, not necessarily romantic.’

The music video to accompany the song, showing herself in close-up, is still instantly recognisable for how vulnerable and beautiful she was. Towards the end of the video, tears are running freely down her face.

Sinéad wrote her memoir ‘Remembering’ in 2021, a stunning read with searing honesty, giving her award-winning writer brother Joesph O’Connor a run for his money.


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