The Prince estate and Warner Bros. Records decided to release the original version of Prince’s iconic song “Nothing Compares 2 U” over video of the artist rehearsing with the Revolution in 1984, the same year the track was recorded.
The original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” was cut six years before the famous cover by Sinéad O'Connor went mainstream in the '90s, and Prince began performing it on the road. Prince's estate’s official vault archivist Michael Howe “spotted the 2-inch multitrack reel in the Vault some weeks back while doing a 1984-era inventory,” according to a statement released from the estate. “After retrieving my jaw from the floor, we took the reel upstairs, analyzed it, put it up on the Studer 24 track machine, and digitized it to 24/192,” Howe said. “Even our 'faders up' rough mix was compelling enough to indicate that this was something very special indeed.”
“No Prince-penned song performed by another artist has enjoyed more chart success (#1 in over a dozen countries) and overall cultural impact than Sinead O'Connor's 1990 recording,” Howe continued. “So hearing the song in its original context performed in its entirety by the author makes it particularly noteworthy.”
The song is coupled with the never-before-seen rehearsal video, which shows just how dedicated Prince was to his craft and performance behind the scenes, illustrated in the intense and theatrical rehearsal.
Susannah Melvoin and Paul "St. Paul" Peterson back Prince’s vocals on the original version. Peterson recently talked with the Guardian saying Prince didn’t exactly like O’Connor’s cover of the song. “He told me he didn’t like it [O’Connor’s version],” Peterson said. “Unless he asked them, he didn’t like anyone covering his songs.”
Prince’s longtime sound engineer Susan Rogers also spoke to the Guardian about who the subject of the song might be—Prince’s housekeeper Sandy Scipioni—and explains why he might not have released it under his own name. “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. ‘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.”
Along with the release of the original version of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U," his estate has also brought back the concept of the Hit N Run online shop where official merch and limited edition, picture disk vinyl is available for purchase. Check it out here.
Furthermore, the Prince estate has launched www.Prince2Me.com, an interactive site for fans to share their appreciation for the iconic artist, as well as learn more about his legacy.
Today the Carver County Attorney in Minnesota announced they cannot file any charges involving the death of Prince, who died of an accidental fentanyl overdose two years ago. "There is no evidence that the pill or pills that actually killed Prince were prescribed by a doctor. There is also no evidence to suggest any other sinister motive, intent or conspiracy to murder Prince," attorney Mark Metz said.