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02nd Aug 2023

“I feel like the world destroyed Sinead O’Connor” – Shirley Manson and Lily Allen pay searing, emotional tributes

Patrick McCarry

Shirley Manson

“She’s one of the greats, and to my mind she’s up there with a Nina Simone and a Billie Holiday.”

Of all the words that have been spoken, written or sung about Sinead O’Connor, in the days since her passing, none cut as close to the core of the musician as those of Shirley Manson.

The Garbage singer spoke to Rolling Stone for a podcast entitled ‘The Life and Music’ of Sinead O’Connor, who died at the age of 56, last Wednesday [July 26].

“I’ve been waiting for this,” Manson said. “I feared this would happen. I understood what crisis she was in and I was very concerned and my biggest fear has come true. I can’t say I’m surprised. I really saw in Sinead a figurehead, a flag-bearer. And to have lost that, it feels devastating.”

The Scottish singer went on to say how much she loved, admired and looked up to O’Connor and said her ‘spectacular voice’ was right up their with music legends Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. “She could just flip from a whisper to the sound of an angel, and then straight into this super-fierce, hardcore, almost punk rock.” Shirley Manson added:

“What happened to Sinead is just another example of what the world does to powerful women. I feel like the world destroyed Sinead O’Connor. She was so delicate. Yes, she was courageous and brave and fierce and powerful. But she was also really unbelievably fragile and sensitive. And the world just tossed her around and defiled her, and now we’ve lost somebody that we’ll not see the likes of, not in my lifetime.

“It’s so sad because she’s so often begged for help, and she was made fun of by the tabloids for a variety of occurrences in her later life. They vilified her for the way she looked. What the fuck is that? What business is it of anybody’s, how Sinead O’Connor chooses to look?”

Shirley MansonSinead O’Connor (left) and Shirley Manson. (Credit: Getty)

Lily Allen calls out “spineless” Sinead O’Connor posts

Tributes have since been coming in for Sinéad O’Connor over the last few days as many celebrate her life and deem her one of Ireland’s greats. The likes of Ice T, Alison Moyet, Tom Morello, Ian Brown, Cat Stephens and Imelda May took to social media to laud the Dubliner.

Over the weekend, Alanis Morissette and The Foo Fighters teamed up at the Fuji Rock Festival to perform O’Connor’s 1987 hit, Mandinka. Following that array of tributes flowing in, Lily Allen took to Twitter, on Sunday to share her own thoughts. The singer said:

“It’s hard not to feel incensed when there are so many people posting about Sinead and how fearless she was, people who would never in a million years align themselves with with anybody who stood for something or had anything remotely controversial to say. It’s so spineless. If you can’t stand up for people in life don’t do it in death.”

Allen then added: “It’s also troubling that people have seemingly felt so empathetic towards her but didn’t feel that they could show it or express it for some reason. until they died. What does that say about us ?”

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