The Lion and the Cobra
is the debut album by Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor
, released in 1987
O'Connor, age 20 at the time, recorded the album while heavily pregnant with her first child.
The title of the album is from Psalm 91:13, "You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent". The track "Never Get Old" opens with an Irish language recital of Psalm 91 by singer Enya.
The first single was 'Troy'. The video for the second single, "Mandinka", was shown heavily on MTV's 120 Minutes. "I Want Your (Hands on Me)" debuted in May 1988, 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.
The album stayed on the US Billboard Top 200 charts for 38 weeks.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:
Sinéad O'Connor's debut, The Lion and the Cobra, was a sensation upon its 1987 release, and it remains a distinctive record, finding a major talent striving to achieve her own voice. Like many debuts, it's entirely possible to hear her influences, from Peter Gabriel to Prince and contemporary rap, but what's striking about the record is how she synthesizes these into her own sound -- an eerie, expansive sound heavy on atmosphere and tortured passion.
It's a thoroughly impressive debut -- and it's all the more impressive when you realize she only topped it with its immediate successor, before losing all focus.
O'Connor has four children and was married four times. In 2015, her first grandson was born. In 2017, O'Connor said that she had changed her legal name to Magda Davitt. On her conversion to Islam in October 2018, she adopted the name Shuhada' Davitt.