On Jan.24, 1988, a video for the song “Mandinka” by Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor premiered on MTV’s 120 Minutes. The song generated positive response and was moved into heavy rotation on the cable channel’s playlist. “Mandinka” was the single from O’Connor’s 1987 debut album, The Lion and the Cobra (the title being a reference to the Bible’s Psalm 91).
O’Connor was 20 at the time of the recording and pregnant with her first child. She had been unhappy with the original demo of her music, calling it too Celtic, so she took on the role of producer and re-recorded and mixed the tracks to her liking. The result was unique mixture of passionate vocals and music—ambient moods, pop, hip-hop and hard rock.
“Mandinka” was a hit in the UK and Ireland, but never charted on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was played on alternative FM and college radio stations in the US, and a re-mix of the song landed on the Dance/Club charts, peaking at #14. The Lion and the Cobra would go to #143 on the US albums chart.