Sinead O’Connor is certainly no stranger to controversy, between her outspokenness against the music industry and her and her occasionally erratic and confusing rants on Twitter. Most recently, she has been in the news for attempting to offer some motherly advice to the wayward Miley Cyrus, then turning on her when Cyrus mocked her for it.
But behind all this drama and controversy, Sinead O’Connor is an artist—a musical artist whose work is critically acclaimed and often cited as an influence by others—and her greatest hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” is a great example of why. In fact, Miley Cyrus herself claims her recent video “Wrecking Ball” was inspired by the video below, which is what prompted O’Connor to reach out to her in the first place.
Interestingly, “Nothing Compares 2 U” was originally written by Prince and released by a short-lived funk side project of his called “The Family” back in 1985. It was not released as a single and generally went unnoticed until O’Connor recorded it and released it on her album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got in 1990. The song became nothing less than a worldwide sensation, topping the charts in twelve countries and garnering O’Connor four Grammys in 1991, including Record of the Year.
The video below is responsible for one of those four Grammys (Best Music Video, Short Form). Shot mostly in close-up, the video shows O’Connor delivering perhaps one the most honest and emotional performances captured on video, and the minimalist nature of the video only serves to spotlight her talent. The tears that appear on O’Connor’s cheeks toward the end of the video are real and spontaneous.
Think what you will of Sinead O’Connor; you have to give props for this performance.