Listen: Prince’s Original ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

This is probably what Prince thought the song, made famous by Sinéad O’Connor, should sound like.
Friday 20 April 2018
Video: Prince/YouTube

Just ahead of Prince’s 2-year death anniversary on 21 April, his estate has released a never-heard-before studio recording of what is considered one of his greatest compositions, Nothing Compares 2 U.

He wrote the song in 1984 at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse for the Family, a band he put together, but it wasn’t until Sinéad O’Connor covered it in her second studio album that it became a huge success. Her music video also became an indelible part of the ’90s.

Compared to O’Connor’s haunting alt-rock version, Prince’s original has a heavier rock-ballad temperament. The Family singers Susannah Melvoin and Paul Peterson lent backup vocals to the song, which also features Eric Leeds, a frequent collaborator of Prince’s, on the saxophone.

Peterson, though initially upset that O’Connor won fame for her cover, ended up loving it. However, he said Prince didn’t.

“Unless he asked them, he didn’t like anyone covering his songs,” Peterson said.

Listen to the original Nothing Compares 2 U, accompanied by footage from Prince’s 1984 summer rehearsals. You couldn’t touch that even if you tried. But you can, however, put the track on endless replay.

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