In 1987 I was sixteen and exploring the world of #alternative #British #NewWave music through the exquisite channel of the Long Island radio station known as #WLIR. Their weekly format often started with a late Sunday night broadcast of a recent overseas concert by an up-and-coming-to-the-US artist, followed by heavy rotation of their album Monday through Friday. I first heard O'Conner on my crappy all-in-one shelf system. She hooked me with "Jerusalem" and "I Want Your (Hands On Me)".
My home town had a Crazy Rhythms record store, and as soon it was available locally my older brother came home with O' Connor's debut vinyl album "The Lion and the Cobra". The cover image alone was arresting, long before her stoic arms-crossed posture was repurposed three decades later as the salute "Wakanda Forever!".
That first listening, on our parents' floor standing KLH speakers left me speechless. 'Ethereal' wasn't a word I knew, but was apt. In hindsight, the rhythms and guitar riffs were all 1980's, the power chords predictable now (albeit moving then), and the strings and other instruments identifiable in this tightly and powerfully put together album. But her voice. From the first line of the first track "Jackie" through the last of the last "Just Call Me Joe", there was nothing like it. She could sing like an angel, sneer like a teenager, and wail like a siren. I lay on the floor next to the speaker while Side A looped on the phonograph. "Your turn to flip it", my brother and I would bicker, not wanting to get up and break the spell. Her voice would be a problem for the navy.