Original Studio Version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” Released. How Does It Compare 2 the Others?

Posted May 2, 2018 by J Matthew Cobb in News

Vault studio track of beloved Prince ballad hits the streets. And we’re all making comparisons.

With another Record State Day going into the books, the Prince Estate decided to drop an unexpected surprise on the Purple Nation.

In collaboration with Warner Bros., they’ve unveiled the original 1984 studio version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” cut ten years before Sinead O’ Connor turned it into an international #1 hit. It’s been documented that the track was actually made at the Flying Cloud Drive ‘Warehouse’ in Eden Prairie by his long-time engineer Susan Rogers. And it also features backing vocals by Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St. Paul” Peterson along with the saxophone work by Eric Leeds.

A video featuring studio footage of Prince with the Revolution was drummed up to compliment the track.

Warner Bros. rolled out a digital version in both streaming or download format, but there’s also a 7″ inch single with picture disc and black vinyl variants floating around.

So, how does Prince’s version compares with the other versions, Sinead’s version and Prince & the New Power Generation’s cut made commercially available on The Hits 1/The B-Sides compilation? Well, depends on the mood you’re in. Sinead’s more relaxed, but icy — fitting the painful goodbyes and bluesy distance found in the lyrics.

Prince’s “live” take, recorded at Paisley Park Studios and released in September 1993, is more gospel-driven, features a powerful duet with Rosie Gaines. It’s more joyful, feeling like a glorious resolve to the lonesome lyrics.

And then, let’s not forget the version done by The Family, the short-lived studio project strung together at the Time’s breakup in 1985. Their version, maybe the least adored, features no drum or beats, just an abounding synth, a sax solo and Paul Peterson’s straight-pop vocal.

So who do you think has the most triumphant version? Sound off below.

Meanwhile, if you’re anxious in fetching the limited edition, you’re too late. The NC2U picture disc vinyl + t-shirt bundle, and its many accessories (including denim jacket) are all sold out, according to its website.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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