Local Current Blog

Listen to Prince’s original recording of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U,’ and browse an annotated discography

Photo by Nancy Bundt, © the Prince Estate.

In a surprise that coincides with the kickoff of Celebration 2018 at Paisley Park — and as the world prepares to mark two years since Prince’s sudden death — the original studio recording of Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U” has been released by the icon’s estate.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” is best-known in the Sinéad O’Connor recording that topped the charts in 1990, but the song had been previously released in a version by the Family, a Prince protege band that succeeded the Time. (Now called fDeluxe, the Family will be playing at Paisley Park on Sunday night to bring this year’s Celebration to a close.) Prince’s original recording has never before been released.

Predating the construction of Paisley Park, this recording was made on July 15, 1984 at the Flying Cloud warehouse in Eden Prairie, then a recording and rehearsal facility for Prince — between the release of the Purple Rain soundtrack album and the movie. Along with the single, the Prince estate has released an accompanying video that features previously unseen rehearsal footage of the band that summer.

In a press release, estate archivist Michael Howe explains:

I spotted the 2” multitrack reel in the Vault some weeks back while doing a 1984-era inventory. 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. Even our ‘faders up’ rough mix was compelling enough to indicate that this was something very special indeed.

As Ginsu pitchmen would have been heard saying on TV that summer: but wait, there’s more! “Nothing Compares 2 U” picture discs and merch are available via a pop-up web store, and a black vinyl 7″ will be available from conventional retailers on May 25. The Prince estate has also launched a new site for fans to share their memories — and when they tweet using the hashtags #Prince2Me (as in, what Prince means 2 me) or #NothingCompares2U, a special Love Symbol emoji will appear. And the estate has launched an annotated online discography!

It’s a lot to take in, and the weekend is just getting started. These new releases come less than an hour before Carver County authorities are expected to announce whether criminal charges will be filed regarding Prince’s death.

On a more positive note, we’ll be celebrating Prince’s life and legacy all weekend and beyond. Our new Purple Current stream will be all-Prince from tomorrow through Sunday, and venues across the Twin Cities are hosting dances and concerts in Prince’s memory. Meanwhile, we’re taking a deep dive into the many elements of Prince’s multifaceted sound. Follow us on-air and online for continuing coverage of Celebration and other Prince news.

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