Sinead O'Connor's first album, The Lion and The Cobra, was released in 1987, and its abundant popularity and critical acclaim quickly shot her to pop-star status. On a roll, O'Connor soon produced her second album, a critical success that included her hit single written by Prince "Nothing Compares 2 U." Well known for expressing her political views, O'Connor shredded a photo of Pope John Paul II on a Saturday Night Live appearance in '92, an ill-conceived action that launched a backlash against her music. Ironically, O'Connor played the role of an Irish Virgin Mary in Neil Jordan's The Butcher Boy and released the low-key Gospel Oak EP in '97. In an even stranger twist of fate, or faith, O'Connor was ordained a Catholic priest in '99 in an unofficial ceremony in Lourdes, France; not surprisingly, the new Mother Bernadette Marie was immediately denounced by the Vatican. In 2003, O'Connor announced her retirement from the music business.
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