Kristofferson immortalises 'Sister Sinead'
HE COMFORTED her immediately when she was heckled off stage, but it took 17 years for Kris Kristofferson to release a song about Sinead O'Connor.
The US country singer's latest album features the track 'Sister Sinead', which pays tribute to the controversial soloist, describing her as a "bald-headed brave little girl" who is "profoundly misunderstood".
The pair met at a Bob Dylan 30th anniversary gig in 1992 when O'Connor was booed off stage -- and it has emerged that the song was penned soon afterwards.
A furious crowd reaction was prompted by her appearance on US chat show 'Saturday Night Live' when she tore up a picture of the Pope as a protest against child abuse.
But the jeering and humiliation of O'Connor that followed in Madison Square Garden in New York only weeks later made a lasting impression on Kristofferson.
"It's so amazing that she was booed at a Bob Dylan concert, where you'd think there'd be the most open audience you could get," the Texan singer said.
"But the same thing happened to the Dixie Chicks, and they survived, too.
"Anyway, I think it's a good song about someone who told her truth in a way that a lot of people didn't understand."
Kristofferson, who has also won a Golden Globe in his acting career, was hosting the Bob Dylan gig in 1992. The booing started when he announced O'Connor on to the stage.
She fell silent waiting for the crowd to settle, but when they continued to jeer Kristofferson came back on and said to her: "Don't let the b*****ds get you down".
O'Connor then took the microphone and began singing Bob Marley's 'War', the song she had performed on 'Saturday Night Live'.
When finished, she stormed off, visibly upset, and Kristofferson embraced her and took her backstage.
O'Connor could not be reached for comment on the tribute song last night.
But a source close to the singer said that he "must have had this song in his back drawer" for nearly 20 years, and that O'Connor's actions clearly still resonated with him.
In the song's chorus, Kristofferson concedes that O'Connor, who has been embroiled in controversies at home and abroad, is "askin' for trouble to stick out your neck".
"But some candles flicker and some candles fade. And some burn as true as my sister Sinead."
Kristofferson's compassion for the south Dublin artist may be borne out of a feeling of solidarity with her.
He has also been booed by fans for making political statements, for instance by supporting the black rights activist Jesse Jackson.