''The Lion and the Cobra'' is the 1987 debut album by Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor. O'Connor, age 20 at the time, recorded the album while very 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 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 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 memorably featured in the 1987 horror film ''A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master''.
The album featured prominent session musicians John Reynolds on drums and former Adam and the Ants and Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist Marco Pirroni.
The title of the album is from "you will tread upon the lion and cobra", and the track "Never Get Old" opens with a recital of Psalm 91 in Irish by singer Enya with Sinead.