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Will Her Fans Forgive Atoning O'Connor?

July 17, 1994|Robert Levine

We're probably going to see lots of pop stars record Kurt Cobain songs over the next few years, but who ever expected super-rebel Sinead O'Connor to be the first?

The Irish spitfire has recorded a haunting version of Cobain's "All Apologies" for her first collection of primarily original material since 1990's 2-million-selling "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got." The new album, titled "Universal Mother," is due Sept. 15--Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

Does this mean that O'Connor is apologizing for some of the controversial things she's done in the past--most notoriously tearing up a picture of the Pope during her performance on "Saturday Night Live." That outburst got her booed off the stage shortly afterward, at the October, 1992, Bob Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden.

Apology might be too strong a word, says O'Connor spokeswoman Elaine Schock.

"If you listen to the record, it doesn't sound like an apology," Schock says. "She's always strong in her beliefs, and that's never going to change. She's anything but predictable."

Schock does say, though, that O'Connor deliberately chose the Day of Atonement as the release date.

Will fans forgive her?

Many seemed to have done so when she was greeted warmly while appearing with Peter Gabriel during the WOMAD tour last summer.

Album sales may give a clue--her last album, the 1992 standards collection "Am I Not Your Girl?," was not a big sales success. But the real test will come when she gives her first U.S. concerts since the Dylan fiasco--a tour is being planned for October.

"It's difficult to forecast (the demand for tickets)," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert trade magazine Pollstar. "If radio embraces the record, I suppose there's a significant market for her."

Schock says that O'Connor is realistic about how fans will react to her.

"She's going to get some boos. But she knows that."

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