The late Sinéad O’Connor was “one of the most incredible women of modern times,” Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson says in the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, praising her as a “monster musician” who was a major influence on her own work — and on the entire Nineties. “Up until that point, aside from Madonna, there were no really outspoken women in music, because you couldn’t afford to be outspoken,” adds Manson. “You would get squashed. And Sinéad kind of heralded in this amazing decade of rebellion.”
In the episode, Manson goes deep on O’Connor’s entire career, including the fateful moment when she tore up a photograph of the pope on Saturday Night Live in 1992. (To hear the whole podcast, go here to the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.) “We cannot underestimate the power of what she did,” Manson says. “Female artists were expected to be seen and not heard. For a female artist to have the confidence and the audacity to speak up on a subject as serious, as terrifying, and as potent as the Church and pedophilia is astoundingly brave. She knew it wasn’t gonna be a popular move… She sacrificed herself.”
Elsewhere in the episode, longtime Rolling Stone writer David Wild — who went on to write for the Grammys and other TV shows, and is currently the co-host of the Naked Lunch interview podcast — looks back on his experience interviewing O’Connor for her 1991 Rolling Stone cover story. “She told the truth in whispers,” says Wild, “and then she sang the truth, in this amazing voice.”
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