Sinead O

Sinead O’Connor sent text messages “laden with desperation, despair and sorrow” to Bob Geldof in the weeks before her death, The Boomtown Rats frontman has told a festival crowd.

He dedicated the band’s performance at Cavan Calling in Ireland to O’Connor, who died at her home in southeast London last week, aged 56.

Sinead O Connor dead

Image: Sinead O Connor shot to fame with her 1990 song Nothing Compares 2 U

As a fellow Irish singer, Geldof, 71, said he grew up with her family and lived just “down the road” from her.

He told the crowd: “Many, many times Sinead was full of a terrible loneliness and a terrible despair. She was a very good friend of mine. We are talking right up to a couple of weeks ago.

“Some of the texts were laden with desperation and despair and sorrow and some were ecstatically happy. And she was like that.”

Best known for her 1990 song Nothing Compares 2 U, O’Connor was known for her outspoken views on subjects such as religion, war and feminism.

She infamously tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992 to protest against abuse in the Catholic Church.

Geldof said: “She tore up the picture of the Pope because she saw me tearing up a picture of John Travolta on Top Of The Pops.

“It was a little more extreme than tearing up f****** disco – tearing up the Vatican is a whole other thing – but more correct actually, I should’ve done it.”

Ahead of the Irish concert, Geldof told Aine Duffy, for Irish Web TV, that the band were “all very sad” following O’Connor’s death and would be playing some of their oldest tracks as O’Connor had been a “big Rats fan”, attending many of the band’s gigs as a young girl.

He said: “Sinead lived down the road from me and Gary, the guitar player in the band who died about six or seven months ago, we are quite literally down the road.

“So, we’ve known that girl most of her life, really. She was a big Rats fan… so, to be honest with you, that’s why we’re doing very early stuff and we dedicate this gig to her, it’s the only thing we can do as musicians.

“We were friends all the way through. She was signed to the same little record label we were signed to, by the same guy, had the same manager and stuff like that so there’s a big connection there.”

Spreaker This content is provided by Spreaker, which may be using cookies and other technologies. To show you this content, we need your permission to use cookies. You can use the buttons below to amend your preferences to enable Spreaker cookies or to allow those cookies just once. You can change your settings at any time via the Privacy Options. Unfortunately we have been unable to verify if you have consented to Spreaker cookies. To view this content you can use the button below to allow Spreaker cookies for this session only.

Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts

O’Connor began playing on the streets of Dublin using a guitar given to her by a nun and released her debut album The Lion and the Cobra in 1987. Her last album – I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss – came out in 2014.

In 2021 O’Connor cancelled a number of gigs after announcing she was entering a one-year programme for trauma and addiction.

The following year her 17-year-old son Shane took his own life.

Geldof, who has been in the public eye since The Boomtown Rats formed in the mid-70s, has also experienced tragedy in his life, with the death of his ex-wife Paula Yates from a heroin overdose in 2000 echoed 14 years later by the death of his 25-year-old daughter Peaches.

You might also like...