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Exclusive: Gavin Friday talks about recording with Sinéad O’Connor and Bono

In a companion piece to Callum Pearce’s newly compiled Perfect 10: Sinéad O’Connor for International Women’s Day 2023, Gavin Friday, Irish artist, founder member of the Virgin Prunes and all-round icon of the post-punk era, has taken time out from recording his new album to compose his recollections of the film song he and U2’s Bono penned for the “phenomenal and beyond” Sinéad to sing — 1993’s You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart Again, exclusively for Take it away Gav…

In early ’93 Director Jim Sheridan asked me to work as music consultant on his forthcoming film In The Name Of The Father, based on the true story of the falsely convicted Guilford Four.

“Gav, to open the film how would ya make a bomb go off musically?” was one of the first questions Jim asked me. And very quickly my role as music consultant morphed in composing the original score, out of which came the opening song In The Name Of The Father, which myself and Bono contributed to vocally and lyrically.

Myself and Maurice Seezer had a piano motif which Jim became fond of and asked if we could write Main Theme song — the result was You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart Again, lyrics co-written by Bono. I recorded a vocal for the track first, which Jim felt was too dark after which Bono then did a vocal which Jim also didn’t like.

“Gav, ultimately this is about Ireland’s struggle. It has to be a woman’s voice, doesn’t it?” and Jim was right. The woman was Sinéad O’Connor.

We showed Sinéad a rough edit of the film, after which I spent sometime with her going through the lyrics the next day in STS Studios in Dublin. And with the phenomenal talents of producer Tim Simeon we recorded Sinéad’s breathtaking vocals.

All she asked for was the room to be candlelit, and within two takes she had made her magical mark on the song. We composed and recorded all the music for In The Name Of The Father within two weeks. There was no big plan other than to make the music for the film but there was just ’something in the air’. 

The emotions that film captured were profound in a way that only Irish people could understand, and what Sinéad captured within that song spoke as loud as the bombs that opened the film and as deep as the pain The Troubles had wounded our nation.

Yeah, her voice was and still is Motherfucking Ireland.

Gavin Friday was talking to Steve Pafford

It’s been 33 years since Sinéad O’Connor took Nothing Compares 2 U to No. 1 is here

Thank God he’s Friday: a Virgin Prune comes of age is here

Random Jukebox: U2’s Miss Sarajevo, One New Year’s Day is here

Even better than the real thing: 11 Irish Icons that aren’t U2 is here

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