Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

A conversation with Sinéad O'Connor

In July 2005, I spoke with Sinéad O'Connor about her reggae album, Throw Down Your Arms, that she’d recorded in Jamaica with Sly and Robbie. There was a lot going on in the world at the time. Live 8, the series of anti-poverty benefit concerts organized by Bob Geldof on the 20th anniversary of Live Aid, had just taken place. The news cycle was filled with horrific stories about the suicide attacks by Islamic terrorists that killed 56 early-morning commuters on the London Tube. We talked about those events, as well as ganga, God and her decision never to revisit her pop past again.  But Sinéad was musically motivated—Throw Down Your Arms was her first recording since her t...
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Sinéad O’Connor - I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss

When Sinéad burst forth in 1990 with her riveting performance of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” the Irish singer seemed destined for superstardom. With her shaved head and emotionally charged vocals, there was no one like her. But Sinéad proved to be as difficult as she was talented, famously refusing her Grammy Award and infamously tearing up the Pope’s photo on Saturday Night Live. Since then, controversies triggered by her strong views on organized religion and women’s rights have continued to follow her, even as she’s made critically acclaimed recordings. Now the outspoken mother of four has released her 10th studio album, which she calls simply “a set of love songs.” Romance is at the...
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Music Review: Sinéad O’Connor - How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?

Few artists have been as provocative as Sinéad O’Connor. The Irish singer will forever be remembered for the outrage she caused in 1992, when she used her appearance on TV’s Saturday Night Live to criticize sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Singing an acapella version of Bob Marley’s “War,” she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II while singing the word “evil” and urging viewers to “fight the real enemy.” The backlash was swift and severe. Madonna publicly criticized her, while crowds roundly booed her when she performed at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary tribute concert. O’Connor would be easy to dismiss if she wasn’t so fiercely outspoken or as musically gifted. Throughout her career...
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Feature Article: Sinéad O’Connor's spiritual rebirth

It’s been easy to dismiss Sinéad O’Connor as a kook, a volatile artist who seemed hell bent on career self-destruction by refusing to have the American national anthem played before her U.S. concerts and ripping up Pope John Paul II’s photo on Saturday Night Live. The backlash was swift and severe. The outspoken Irish-born singer suffered a nervous breakdown, attempted suicide and announced her retirement from the music business—several times. Last year, O’Connor took out a full-page ad in the Irish Examiner newspaper, pleading with her critics to be left alone. “I have been the whipping post of Ireland’s media for 20 years,” she wrote in the 2,000-word open letter. “If ye all think I am suc...
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