Nothing Compares 2 U:30
“Nothing Compares 2 U” is one of the most instantly recognizable and emotionally gripping songs in Prince’s vast catalog of hits, and in April 2018 the world got an opportunity to hear it in its purest, original form.
Long before it became a global #1 hit sung by the Irish artist Sinead O’Connor, and before it was included on the 1985 album by Prince's side project, the Family, the artist recorded a version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” alone at his Eden Prairie warehouse studio in July 1984, with only the engineer Susan Rogers there to capture the song in all its raw glory.
“I was amazed how beautiful it was,” Susan Rogers recalls in the book Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions. “He took his notebook and he went off to the bedroom, wrote the lyrics very quickly, came back out and sang it.”
The version that would appear on the Family’s 1985 album, The Family, would be altered significantly. Saxophone was added by Eric Leeds, string orchestration was added by the composer Clare Fischer, and Prince’s vocals were replaced by the Family’s co-vocalists Susannah Melvoin and St. Paul Peterson. Prince would record the song years later as a duet with his New Power Generation vocalist Rosie Gaines (a version that appears on The Hits/The B-Sides), and it became a staple of his live performances for decades, appearing again on his 2002 album One Nite Alone… Live!