15 Rock & Roll Rebels

For these 15 revolutionaries, the only place to be was on the outside looking in.

Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor rips up a picture of Pope John Paul II while performing on 'Saturday Night Live' on October 3rd, 1992
Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

Sinead O'Connor will forever be remembered for shredding a photo of Pope John Paul II on the October 3, 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live. She did it to protest the Catholic church's long suppression of evidence of sexual abuse among clergymen; the song she sang was Bob Marley's "War." She shouted the same lyrics two weeks later at a Bob Dylan tribute at Madison Square Garden, where she was nearly drowned out by a jeering crowd. "Don't let the bastards get you down," Kris Kristofferson told her. "I'm not down," she replied. O'Connor has made a career of kicking against establishment notions, starting with her trademark shaved head, a direct statement about the objectification of women. In support of gay rights, she once said, "I'm three-quarters heterosexual, a quarter gay." And she drew the ire of Frank Sinatra when she refused to perform at a New Jersey venue if they played the National Anthem before the show. "I don't do anything in order to cause trouble," she said. "It just so happens that what I do naturally causes trouble."

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