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The Lion and the Cobra

The Lion and the Cobra
Studio album by Sinéad O'Connor
Released 4 November 1987
Recorded 1986–1987, Oasis Studios, London
Genre Alternative rock, pop rock
Length 42:21
Label Ensign/Chrysalis
Producer Sinéad O'Connor
Kevin Moloney
Sinéad O'Connor chronology
The Lion and the Cobra
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
Alternative cover
U.S. cover art
Singles from The Lion and the Cobra
  1. "Troy"
    Released: 1987
  2. "Mandinka"
    Released: 1 December 1987
  3. "I Want Your (Hands on Me)
    (featuring MC Lyte)"

    Released: 1988
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Rolling Stone [3]
Slant Magazine [4]
Sputnikmusic [5]

The Lion and the Cobra is the 1987 debut album by Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor on Ensign/Chysalis records. O'Connor, age 20 at the time, recorded the album while heavily pregnant with her first child.

The photograph of O'Connor on the album cover was taken by Haysi Fantayzee member Kate Garner. The U.S. cover differed from the European release, as it was felt a more subdued pose would present a "softer" image of O'Connor.

The first single 'Troy', was released in 1987, it peaked at #8 in The Netherlands and #12 in Belgium. The second single was 'Mandinka'. The video for "Mandinka" was shown heavily after debuting 24 January 1988 on 120 Minutes on MTV. The single was a mainstream pop hit in the UK, peaking at #17 in the singles chart, as well as #6 in her native Ireland. "I Want Your (Hands on Me)" debuted in May 1988 on the same show, featuring a rap interlude by MC Lyte. The song was featured in the 1988 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

It charted worldwide, reaching #27 in the United Kingdom for 20 weeks, #4 in New Zealand for 13 weeks, #37 in Australia for 13 weeks, #12 in Switzerland for 6 weeks, #52 in Germany for 3 weeks, #37 in Sweden for 2 weeks, #4 in The Netherlands for 43 weeks and #36 on the US Billboard Top 200,[6] staying on the charts for 38 for weeks.

The album featured prominent session musicians John Reynolds on drums, former Adam and the Ants and Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist Marco Pirroni, former Japan guitarist Rob Dean and Mike Clowes from Friction Groove on keyboards.

The title of the album is from Psalm 91:13 "you will tread upon the lion and cobra", and the track "Never Get Old" opens with an Irish language recital of Psalm 91 by singer Enya.

Additional single b-sides include "Still Listening" and "The Value of Ignorance".

The album sold 2,500,000 copies worldwide.

Slant Magazine listed the album at #46 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s saying "The Lion and the Cobra is regal, majestic, and allegorical, an album rife with images of war, slain dragons, and ghosts, and it's one of the most electrifying debuts in rock history".[7]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Sinéad O'Connor, except where noted. 
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Jackie"     2:28
2. "Mandinka"     3:46
3. "Jerusalem"   O'Connor, Ali McMordie, Mike Clowes, John Reynolds 4:20
4. "Just Like U Said It Would B"   O'Connor, Steve Wickham 4:32
5. "Never Get Old" (spoken-word intro by Enya)   4:39
6. "Troy"     6:34
7. "I Want Your (Hands on Me)"   O'Connor, Clowes, Reynolds, Rob Dean, Spike Holifield 4:42
8. "Drink Before the War"   O'Connor, Clowes, Reynolds 5:25
9. "Just Call Me Joe"   O'Connor, Kevin Mooney, Leslie Winer 5:51



  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Lion and the Cobra - Sinéad O'Connor". Allmusic. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Sinéad O'Connor". Robert Christgau. 
  3. ^ DeCurtis, Andrew (1988-01-28). "The Lion And The Cobra". Rolling Stone. 
  4. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (2007-08-13). "Sinéad O'Connor: The Lion and the Cobra". Slant Magazine. 
  5. ^ Donnelly, Dave (2006-11-04). "Sinéad O'Connor - The Lion And The Cobra (staff review)". Sputnikmusic. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
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