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Image / Living / Culture

Watch: Sinead O’Connor’s goosebump-inducing 1989 Grammy Awards performance


by Edaein OConnell
09th Oct 2020

Sinead O'Connor Grammys

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Sinead O'Connor Grammys

After being named one of the most influential women of the last 100 years by Time magazine, we take a look at Sinead O’Connor’s incredible 1989 Grammy Awards performance


At the 1989 Grammys, Sinead O’Connor burst onto the American music scene with her performance of ‘Mandinka’.

She had been nominated for her first Grammy Award in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance category for her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. At the time of the performance, she was only 21 years old.

Rolling Stone  magazine named it as one of the best moments in Grammys history, saying: “If there was Twitter back then, ‘bald chick’ would have probably been trending in about six seconds.”

Introduced by Billy Crystal, the performance itself is simple. Sinead sings alone on stage without a band. Her extraordinary voice is crystal clear in its delivery and this is offset by her achingly cool aesthetic.

It was something special and it was the beginning of a significant few years for the singer.

Controversy

With the controversy and continuous media scrutiny which surrounds Sinead, it’s easy to forget just how overwhelmingly talented she is. Her voice is as haunting as it is beautiful but often this is overshadowed by another narrative – one which doesn’t focus on the art.

Even now she has proved she still has ‘it’. Her performance of ‘Nothing Compares to You’ on The Late Late Show in September was lauded and has garnered over two million views. She played a gig in my hometown last summer and was the standout performance from a weekend full of big names and one which was bursting with new talent.

She is, quite simply, one of the greats.

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