By Johnny Foreigner
Following the sudden death of Sinead O’Connor, you would think that The Grammy Awards would have posted a tribute to the singer’s legendary performance from their 1989 televised broadcast. Thus far, they haven’t – probably because the Grammys never fail to suck. While there’s no mention of Sinead on the Grammy’s official website, there is, however, a video titled “Watch Catie Turner Reveal The One Fruit She Must Have On Her Tour Rider | Herbal Tea & White Sofas”
Comedian Billy Crystal hosted the 31st Annual Grammy Awards show in 1989, and it was he who introduced the 21-year-old Sinead as “no ordinary talent.” True, she was not ordinary. She was nothing short of magnificent.
Below is a clip of Sinead O’Connor, with her shaved head, wearing combat boots, a black halter top, and baggy ripped jeans, performing her song Mandinka.
Journalist Annie Zaleski remembers
“As the churning guitars to “Mandinka” start, O’Connor strides out from backstage, looking a bit nervous as she gets her bearings. When she starts singing, however, any hint of hesitancy falls away. Lithe and confident, O’Connor shimmies to the side and spins her torso in time to the music, immediately in a focused groove.
She pours her heart into the soaring pre-choruses, singing lines like “I don’t know no shame /
I feel no pain / I can’t” with her eyes closed in concentration.
And by the time she reaches the sky-scraping chorus (“I do know Mandinka”), she stares straight ahead at the audience, stomping her feet in time to the buoyant beats in a burst of nervous energy.
Throughout the performance, she radiates contentment; in fact, her joy is infectious.
Even though she’s alone, there’s an intimacy to her delivery that’s deeply moving.”
– Annie Zaleski for The Daily Beast 7/29/2023
Singer/Songwriter Fiona Apple remembers
One of the millions who watched was singer Fiona Apple, who posted this wonderful appreciation to YouTube, several years ago.
“When I heard she died I was heartbroken. It reminded me of that one year, 2016, when everyone was dying, like Leonard Cohen and David Bowie. I thought, “There’s a hero I won’t meet.” When Sinéad died, it hit me the same way.” – Phoebe Bridgers | Continue at Rolling Stone