On April 21, 2018, the second anniversary of Prince’s death, his original studio version of Nothing Compared 2 U was released.
The song, of course, was a huge smash hit for Sinead O’Connor when she released her version in 1990. Although Prince had played the song live on numerous occasions, this is the first time his original studio recording of the song has been released, and boy is it magnificent.
Written, arranged, performed, and produced by Prince himself back in 1984, and despite the fact that the arrangement seems jauntier than O’Connor’s melancholic version, you can’t help but sense raw emotion in his vocals magnifying the yearning feeling in the lyrics.
The Guardian interviewed Prince’s sound engineer Susan Rogers, who said he wrote the song about a young housekeeper named Sandy Scipioni, who “ran Prince’s life”, and that he wrote the lyrics to the song within an hour. “The song came out like a sneeze,” Rogers recalled in the article.
Prince later gave the song away to a band he helped assemble called The Family, but it remained a largely unknown song until O’Connor turned it into a chart-topper. While O’ Connor’s take will always be the best known version of the song, this new release serves as a glorious reminder of just how great a singer, songwriter, and musician Prince was.
In fact, it’s been seven hours and three days since I first heard this song, and I still can’t get it out of my mind.