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Week in Rock History: Jerry Lee Lewis Records 'Great Balls of Fire'

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October 3, 1992: Sinéad O’Connor tears up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live

With one quick rip, Irish singer/songwriter Sinéad O’Connor began an international scandal that derailed her career.

In the fall of 1992, 25-year-old O’Connor appeared on Saturday Night Live as the musical guest (actor Tim Robbins was host) and performed an a cappella version of Bob Marley’s "War," changing some lyrics to protest child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. At the end of the song, she held a photograph of Pope John Paul II to the camera and shredded it to pieces, crying out, "Fight the real enemy."

The SNL staff and audience were stunned into silence; O’Connor had shown a different (intact) photo during dress rehearsal. NBC received over 4,000 calls of complaint in the following days and SNL apologized for the incident, though O’Connor did not – and still maintains that she has no regrets about it.

October 2, 1995: Oasis releases (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? in the U.K. (and the following day in the U.S.)
The cornerstone of the mid-1990s Britpop explosion, Oasis’s second album found the band full of elegance and ambition (bloody brawls between the Gallagher brothers notwithstanding). (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was an instant sensation in the band’s native England, selling almost 350,000 copies in its first week and, off the strength of such major hits as "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova," eventually placing as the fourth best-selling album in U.K. album history (behind Queen’s Greatest Hits, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abba’s Gold-Greatest Hits).

Morning Glory, which reached Number Four on the Billboard charts, was markedly different from Oasis’s debut album, 1994’s Definitely Maybe: singer Liam Gallagher softened his aggressive sneer into more melodic form, and main songwriter/guitarist Noel Gallagher and producer Owen Morris added gentle stacks of strings and keyboards into the broad ballads.

As befit an Oasis recording session, the studio time for Morning Glory was interrupted by spectacular arguing between the Gallagher brothers. One of the most contentious rounds occurred during the recording of "Don’t Look Back in Anger," which delayed the recording process considerably. 

LAST WEEK: Led Zeppelin and the World Mourn John Bonham

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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