Once she was the bad girl who caused one of the biggest rock and roll outrages since John Lennon described the Beatles as bigger than Jesus Christ.
Now, Sinead O'Connor, the young singer who ripped up the Pope's portrait, has returned as a mellowed, middle-aged mother who puts psalms to music.
Her new album, Theology, out next month, will feature passages such as Psalm 33, with minor textual changes of no great theological significance. Where the Bible refers to a "ten-string lyre", for instance, O'Connor has substituted a "bass amp". There is also a version of "Rivers of Babylon", a song based on Psalm 137, and of the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber song "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar.
Each song is performed twice. On the "Dublin side" of the album, it is sung with just an acoustic guitar, while on the "London side", it is done with full orchestra. She has said that she hopes the album is "on the right side of the line between corny and cool".
It is an interesting departure for the singer who once deliberately offended Roman Catholic opinion, and scandalised middle America, with her appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992. She performed an anti-war song by Bob Marley, but adapted it to refer to child abuse. As she sang the word "evil", she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II and threw the fragments at the camera. She said she did it to protest about the way the Catholic Church had ignored child-abuse, and because "I was wondering what would happen". What happened was that her career went into the doldrums, especially in the US, where she had difficulty performing without being booed off stage.
O'Connor was born in Dublin in 1966. When she was eight, her parents had a very public divorce, which they debated on television. Her mother was given custody of the children, although - according to O'Connor - she abused them. She began recording when she was 20 and pregnant, and …