Sinead O'Connor is still making headlines, 20 years into her career. Having battled everything from the Catholic Church to drug addiction, the Irish icon remains beloved and despised. Though nothing compares to her pop stardom of the early '90s (har har), we're nonetheless psyched for her shows at the El Rey tonight and tomorrow. Here, then, are our most memorable Sinead moments.
Date: October 3, 1992
Event: Tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live
Summary: After performing Bob Marley's “War,” O'Connor took everyone by surprise by whipping out a picture of the Pope and tearing it to smithereens. She then looked into the camera and said “Fight the real enemy,” referencing the church's blind eye to child abuse. Joe Pesci, among others, wasn't thrilled.
Date: October 16, 1992
Event: Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute concert, Madison Square Garden
Summary: Two weeks after the pope incident, O'Connor was set to perform Dylan's “I Believe In You.” Introduced by Kris Kristofferson, the New York crowd's reaction was mixed, with a smattering of boos more vocal than the cheers (at least according to my father, who was at the show). The noise from both sides eventually became so overwhelming that O'Connor didn't start the song. Then after trying to do another tune, she left the stage in tears.
Date: May 1999
Event: Sinead O'Connor becomes a priest
Summary: After battling Rome for years, O'Connor decided if you can't beat em, join them, when she became Mother Bernadette Mary at a ceremony orchestrated by the breakaway Latin Tridentine church in Lourdes. Since the Catholic Church considers ordination of women to be invalid, the ceremony had no meaning to them.
Date: October 4, 2007
Event: Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show
Summary: O'Connor disclosed to the talk show queen that she suffered from bipolar disorder and attempted suicide on her 33rd birthday.
Date: December 9, 2011
Event: Marrying Barry Herridge
Summary: After meeting Irish therapist/drug counselor Herridge online, the couple married after only four months of dating, and at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Only 17 days later she announced that their marriage had ended, noting that they lived together for only a week. If that wasn't enough, on their wedding night O'Connor indulged in both crack and pot. After what she called a night of “fantastic lovemaking,” the duo reunited in January, only to split three weeks later.
Date: January 11, 2012
Event: A cry for help
Summary:On Twitter, O'Connor sought a shrink, and her messages turned increasingly desperate. “i realise i will be in trouble 4 doing this but.. ireland is a VERY hard place to find help in. So having tried other ways 1st im asking,” she wrote, as well as: “and i desperately need to get back on meds today. am in serious danger. please e mail me at email@example.com if u know or are.”
Our thoughts are with O'Connor, and, as we've said, we're excited for the show.