Prince's original studio version of "Nothing Compares 2 U," the song Sinead O'Connor earned a smash hit with in 1990, has finally been released. The Prince Estate released a video of 1984 rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution set to the song.
Although "Nothing Compares 2 U" is one of Prince's best-known compositions, he never included it on a studio album himself. Instead, it was first heard on the only album released by The Family, a funk group Prince created, in 1985. The song did not get any recognition until O'Connor's smash hit 1990 recording.
Prince released a live duet version with Rosie Gaines on the 1993 compilation The Hits/The B-Sides and 2006's Ultimate Prince. It was later featured on a 2002 live album and a 2000 concert film.
In an interview with The Guardian, Prince's sound engineer, Susan Rogers, said "Nothing Compares 2 U" was part of a creative streak he was going on during the summer of 1984. He was on "a creative roll, cranking out a song a day." At the time, he was in a relationship with The Family member Susannah Melvoin, whose voice can be heard on Prince's version.
Rogers theorized that Prince's decision never to release his own version of the song had something to do with losing his housekeeper, Sandi Scipioni.
"He wasn't living with anyone, but he was a young man writing about domesticity. The line 'all the flowers that you planted in my back yard went out and died'… it would have been Sandy who planted those flowers," Rogers told The Guardian. "And I know that living with me baby is sometimes hard, but I'm willing to give it another try…' There was no romantic relationship with Sandy. It's not a pained 'Help me, baby' track. It's: 'You're gone and I miss you,' which is probably why he felt comfortable giving the song away to the Family. He released his material based on what he wanted us to know about him and, wonderful as it is, he didn't want it to represent him."
O'Connor said in a 2014 interview with Norway's NPK that she never met Prince before recording her version of the song. He later "summoned" her to her house and told her he did not like hearing her curse in interviews.
"So I told him to f*** off," O'Connor recalled. "He got quite violent. I had to escape out of his house at 5 in the morning. He packed a bigger punch than mine."
Rogers told The Guardian that Prince did not like O'Connor's version.
Prince died on June 7, 2016 from an overdose of fentanyl. He was 57. After a two-year investigation into his death, Carver County, Minnesota Attorney Mark Metz announced Thursday that no criminal charges will be filed in the musician's death.