Earlier in the week, I published a piece making some suggestions on how to improve the Grammy Award ceremony. One suggestion I had was to focus on new artists, and I mentioned that the first time I saw or heard Sinead O’ Connor was on a Grammy show. Of course, from there it was a small step to go on YouTube, find the clip and post it for you guys.
I was 12 when this show aired, so obviously the first thing that seared Sinead’s image in my mind was her look, particularly the shaved head. What’s more is that during her Grammy performance, she had the Public Enemy crosshairs logo etched into the side of her head. Her support of a such a wildly controversial group (and her willingness to align herself with them on a national stage) was the first sign that Sinead had a bit of a counterculture rebellious streak happening.
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This performance is also bizarre because Sinead is singing to a track (which I didn’t notice initially). That’s pretty much unheard of on Grammy shows, and I wonder what the context was. Nevertheless, Sinead performed the shit out of “Mandinka”, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that although American audiences largely forgot about her after the infamous Pope/”SNL” incident, she has gone on to make some fantastic, challenging music even if she records only sporadically these days.