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Warners issue Prince’s original recording of Nothing Compares 2 U

+ Great vault find – Official store only ships from US • $$ ker-ching

The Prince Estate in collaboration with Warner Bros. Records has released the original version of Nothing Compares 2 U as recorded by Prince in 1984.

The track is of course best known via Sinead O’Connor‘s superb 1990 cover, but back in 1984, this was originally composed, arranged and performed in its entirety by Prince and was recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive ‘Warehouse’ in Eden Prairie by his long-time engineer Susan Rogers. This original version also features backing vocals by Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St. Paul” Peterson and the saxophone work by Eric Leeds. It is of course completely unreleased – the song’s first official appearance was on the eponymous debut album of The Family – one of Prince’s side projects.

The record label have made a digital version of this original version of Nothing Compares 2 U available immediately (stream or download) but they will also be issuing a physical version as a seven-inch single, with picture disc and black vinyl variants.

Michael Howe is the Prince Estate’s official Vault Archivist, and had the following to say: “I spotted the two-inch 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, analysed it, put it up on the Studer 24 track machine, and digitised it to 24/192. Even our ‘faders up’ rough mix was compelling enough to indicate that this was something very special indeed.”

The song has been put to a video (see above) featuring never-before-seen rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution practicing their choreography in that same Eden Prairie warehouse during the same summer of 1984.

The bad news is that the vinyl picture disc is only available by a relaunched Prince HitNRun website and you can’t buy it on its own, only with a T-shirt. Also everything in the official store ships from the USA, so for fans in the UK and Europe (and further afield) this seven-inch / T-shirt bundle works out to be around £36 ($50) and then the cheapest shipping to the UK (which arrives 8-24 business days after the official release date) is £12 ($17.39). That’s £48 in total. If you end up paying import VAT and associated charges that could add another £20. So in the worst case scenario – with the very cheapest/slowest shipping – acquiring the seven-inch picture disc single could cost UK buyers close to £70! By the way, if you go for the fastest shipping option (which still takes 4-5 business days after release), that costs £43 or $61, taking your picture disc/T-shirt bundle price to £79 without possible import VAT or associated charges!

Some of the merchandise is quite cool looking, but you can’t help but feel that the Estate is cranking up the commercial side of things to ’11’. And for an artist with such global appeal, it’s all very US-centric right now.

Thankfully, if you can forego the picture disc, and are happy with the humble black vinyl seven-inch, then this will be available for pre-order from the usual channels and will be released on 25 May 2018.

Compare prices and pre-order

Prince

Nothing Compares 2 U

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 7.96
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 8.31
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 7.66
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 8.77
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 9.32
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 9.43
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 12.96
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 12.99
HMV uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 9.99
Currency:

  1. NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (EDIT VERSION) [4:12]
  2. NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (FULL LENGTH VERSION) [4:40]

Recorded in July 1984 at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse, Eden Prairie, MN
Mixed by Tony Maserati at Mirrorball Studios, North Hollywood, CA
Assistant mix Engineer: Tyler Scott
Written, Arranged, Performed and Produced by Prince
Saxophone by Eric Leeds
Backing Vocals by Susannah Melvoin and Paul Peterson
Engineered by Susan Rogers

72 responses to Warners issue Prince’s original recording of Nothing Compares 2 U

  1. Pingback:Deal alert / Prince: Nothing Compares 2 U / black vinyl seven-inch single | superdeluxeedition

  2. memoryboy says:

    ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ will always be a Sinead O’Connor song to me. Her vocals are what made that song a hit, but the musical arrangement was perfect. And the video, showing her crying, but also the whole story about her own mother who was abusive towards her as a child, and then her mom died when Sinead was a teenager. That ended up being her song 100%.

    She owned it. And that entire album it came from is just excellent through and through.

    I am not a fan of Prince’s version. I love Prince and I am thankful he wrote and recorded this song, because it led to Sinead. But Prince’s version is just not that great in my opinion. I am picky about Prince’s stuff, mostly a fan of his first few albums, I lose interest after the ‘Raspberry Beret’ time period. Hits like ‘Little Red Corvette’, ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’, ‘When Doves Cry’…. he has so many amazing releases, and some b-sides like ‘Erotic City’ are legendary. I can put on ‘Let’s Work’ and ‘Controversy’ and it transports me right back to the early to mid-80’s.

    But his version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ just doesnt do it for me. So I will pass.

    I’m waiting for earlier albums to be released and remastered….. ‘ 1999’, ‘Controversy’,….

  3. Setch says:

    Never liked Sinead’s version. Monotonous and oversung. But I get it now, it really is a good song.

  4. Andrew B says:

    As much as I love Prince, this is literally scrapping the bottom before the scrapping has started. There are miles better tracks sat in the vault that is long desired by fans, but this is not a good start. 1984? sounds more like 1988 to me, I was expecting a more Purple Rain era monster ballad, but this is a bit insipid.

  5. Craig E says:

    Recordstore.co.uk have now said that they are not getting the Pic Disc after all, just the black 7 inch.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      So the picture disc is exclusive then to the official store, which is what we thought at the beginning.

  6. Sean L says:

    Picture disc now available for £10:99 plus p&p on Recordstore.co.uk

    • GentleRabbit says:

      Saw the deal in my inbox, left it for a while to do a little research as I’ve heard some terrible things re RecordStore.co.uk service/delivery etc… checked back, and it was gone. Very silly of me, not sure what I was thinking and should have taken the gamble.

      Have now placed an order locally with JBHiFi for the Picture Disc version – what stopped me initially was the fact that despite the title, the product page on their website has an image of the regular black 7″ version. I do hope this is just an oversight, and we receive the Picture Disc as advertised.

      I’m a little more confident that JB will have copies for preorder now that I realise that RecordStore got some as well and it’s not only through the HitNRun site (which I can’t afford right now)… does everyone agree with this or am I being silly?

      Fingers crossed, looks like a lovely little piece, love the artwork etc. and am a Prince collector. Yes, fingers crossed.

  7. Alan says:

    I’m not too struck by this version. I prefer the one on greatest hits. Or Sinead’s. This sounds dated and not in a good way. His vocal isn’t doing it for me either.

    • DaKraut says:

      Ordered that. 32.79 AUD incl. shipping to Germany. Yes, expensive, but that’s one I like spending my money on. Wouldn’t have done it from Paisley directly. I know it’s sort of two-faced, because the money still goes to Paisley, but their way of doing business is as atrocious as Prince was elusive.

    • DaKraut says:

      Got an email from JB Hi Fi Australia informing me that they had got the wrong information and that it was in fact not the picture disc, but the regular black vinyl. If I still wanted it, I should do nothing. Otherwise, I should reply and cancel the order – which I did. They also said the picture disc was only available from the Prince Estate. DAMN!

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        I did say “The bad news is that the vinyl picture disc is only available by a relaunched Prince HitNRun website” from the very beginning!!

  8. Kevin Barrett says:

    Brilliant song, brilliantly written by this genius, who needs a silly picture disc anyway? This will do nicely thanks …

  9. Jay says:

    It seems that Electric Fetus have some limited purple vinyl 7″ singles left from their RSD weekend. Delivery to UK/Europe is $14 meaning the total is around £29 delivered. Expensive for a single.. but then there are apparently just 1984 of them!

    https://electricfetus.tuneportals.com/UPC/603497859313/Prince_Nothing-Compares-2-U-

    One per customer.

  10. MusicFan says:

    Why can’t people do things properly anymore?

    Cheap tshirts, cheap jackets and cheap picture disc!

    It’s disgraceful Paisley Park Enterprises does not ship to anywhere outside of North America! They promised international shipping would be available Summer 2017 but it never happened.

    Everything they do is centric to Paisley Park and they don’t give a damn about fans outside of America. It is so easy to manage international shipping but they simply can’t show respect to Prince’s fans.

    For the last 20 years it’s the fans outside of the USA that have kept Prince going when the USA turned their backs on him.

    I think Warner’s should step in and take over and block Paisley Park Enterprises from releasing any more music – other than merchandise!

  11. Mike Williams says:

    Ordered. Even in the U.S. there is a $10 shipping charge + $5.00 sales tax (California), so it ended up being $65.00 here. At checkout, they separate the charges into $35.00 for the T-shirt & $15.00 for the picture disc, but they won’t let you order them separately. Also the website has a date range at the top of “HitNRun Store | Apr 19 – Apr 25, 2018”. Last time this website opened as a Pop-Up store selling Prince clothing items for a few weeks last fall, so I would suggest getting your preorders in ASAP.

  12. Adam says:

    I expect Prince’s vaults will be gone through over the coming years ala Hendrix, with the good, the bad and the ugly all getting released.

  13. Josh says:

    10 Euros for just one song – has to be some kind of a record. If it were released on 12″ and with 4 other rare tracks (even some from the rare tracks CD that was part of the Purple Rain reissue) I’d buy this in a heartbeat – but not like this.

    I love Rosie Gaines’ voice, so I guess I’m one of the few that prefers the live version on the Hits compilation.

  14. Tim Joseph says:

    They didn’t have one single spare track for use on the B-side? At this price, that is just nasty.

  15. Mathew Lauren says:

    The’re gonna “milk” Prince like a (Minnesota) Guernsey (milk) cow.

    5.1 or Atmos Prince, please.

  16. MCK says:

    CD release please

  17. Michael says:

    Unsure if the Limited Edition Picture Disc or Black Vinyl is being sold, but Warner Music Australia are listing the 7″ Single individually (without the need to purchase the T-Shirt. Obviously postage needs to be factored in, but it’s being sold for £9.87 at https://store.warnermusic.com.au/products/nothing-compares-2-u

  18. william mckinley says:

    This is a better version than the one on The Hits. Granted Sinead O’Conner was the better choice for the vocals. It would be wonderful, once all the lawsuits settle down, a lot more of his unreleased songs see the light of day.

  19. CJ says:

    At the risk of music blasphemy, I’ve never really liked this song all that much, even the Sinead version (though I love her work, I thought it was actually the weakest track on that album). I do like this version much better than the live version on The Hits/The B-sides, and I would love to get a full length release on CD where this was a track because I love Prince and would love to have everything (though there’s no way I’ll ever be able to own it all). But the idea that they released ONE SONG and made such a big deal out of it seems a bit crass and greedy. They have a gigantic vault with hundreds–maybe thousands–of tracks inside it, and this is what they pulled? I sincerely hope they aren’t planning to parse it all out to us one track at a time.

    All his career, Prince fought to be able to release as many albums as he could. While there was the occasional one-off single, that almost always seems to have been because there was a full length album that got scrapped either because of record company meddling or because he lost interest and had moved on to the next thing before it could possible be released. I think there ought to be some thought given to how he preferred to release his music to his fans rather than milking each individual track for all it’s worth.

    And to those who complain that he never would have released any of these songs because he locked them away in the vault “for a reason,” there are plenty of examples of him releasing music from the archives during his career, including huge projects like Crystal Ball, and Old Friends 4 Sale, as well as numerous b-sides and tracks on albums that seemed to finally be “the right place” for something that had been recorded before. So I have no problem with them giving us the vault releases–it’s not like we’re going to see anything “new” from him ever again. But Prince saw himself primarily as an album artist–give us new albums.

  20. Jay says:

    There IS a special RSD release… on purple vinyl! Limited to 1984.

    Sadly it’s as hard a rocking horse shit to get –

    https://www.electricfetus.com/NewsItem/7615

  21. Simon says:

    Does anyone know if Prince did a version of Manic Monday?

    • GentleRabbit says:

      Yes there is, but only available in underwater-quality mp3 from various dubious sources (a similar guide demo version, and duet with Appolonia a la Take Me With U from Purple Rain)… On a separate note, very much resent being fleeced and manipulated by the estate re this purchase – Prince was, and is, an international figure who was arguably more celebrated outside of the US than within it. Don’t rip us off, nor his precious memory.

    • elliott buckingham says:

      there is a demo with appalonia floating about

      • David says:

        Theres also a good demo version with Brenda bennet on vocals with Apples mixed down a wee bit. There is a whole lot of new boot stuff available on Mixcloud and such under the title Blast from the past. Some facsinating variations of commonly known tunes that we all know and love

  22. Chris Squires says:

    This reminds me of “Wherever I lay my Hat” and even more-so “Everytime you go away”.

    Someone taking someone else’s song and changing the emotion. Adding something that just isn’t there on the earlier / original version. Making a worldwide smash #1 hit out of a so-so original isn’t easy or else we’d all be doing it.

    Magda Davitt deserves a sackful of credit for making this song what it has become. If it were not for her, this would still be at the back of the vault, filling space.

  23. Jon says:

    Sinead deserves credit regardless because her vocal performance was spot on (even Prince was impressed). This is a great version of the song and much better then the live version on The Hits comp.

  24. Randy Metro says:

    This would have created quite a queue if released on Record Store Day.

  25. Simon says:

    At the (Prince Family Estate) meeting
    On their hands – a dead star
    And oh, the plans they weave
    And oh, the sickening greed

    At the record company party
    On their hands – a dead star
    The sycophantic slags all say :
    “I knew him first, and I knew him well”

    Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package!
    Re-evaluate the songs
    Double-pack with a photograph
    Extra track (and a tacky badge)

    Prince himself didn’t seem to be interested in releasing this stuff. $50 US? And they couldn’t even find anything different from the Vault to put on the Bside? Shameful.

    • Elliott says:

      From one Smith’s fan to another, and along with Prince himself, nothing but the best, and with “PAINTING A VULGAR PICTURE” will always stand the test of time, tho both no longer with us.

  26. Rough cut says:

    If I hadn’t heard the live version, I’d be amazed by this. As it is, it’s good.

  27. Rodolfo Martin says:

    No CD single? :-(

  28. Kevin Barrett says:

    Ridiculous format and even more ridiculous price, why not just release it on black 12″!

  29. RobS says:

    Wow, this is fantastic news and version. Why did he five this away to the family and their rather dull version. Would have been massive if he’d released himself. I guess he’d gone in a different direction by the time Purple Rain had died down. Will certainly be after the black version….should be 12 inch though. Thanks for the heads up Paul.

  30. Kevin F. says:

    It’s a good demo…not the best though. The one version I LOVE is by Chris Cornell!! There is just soo much emotion in it…that version is just AMAZING!!!

  31. Aaron says:

    It’s great and all but wasn’t there a better version already released on the Hits/ B Sides set?

    • Ern says:

      That was a live version on that set probably recorded around the D&P era but I am interested in this as it is the original version.

  32. elliott buckingham says:

    would have preferred a 12″ release because all my prince collection is on 12″ vinyl

  33. elliott buckingham says:

    brilliant version and the backing group later became the family

    • RJS says:

      “brilliant version and the backing group later became the family”

      According to Susan Rogers, everything on this recently rediscovered demo was played by Prince, except the saxaphone:

      “One day, he went into a room with a notebook and, within an hour, emerged with the lyrics to Nothing Compares 2 U. Rogers, who witnessed many such bursts of creativity, remembers, “The song came out like a sneeze.” As usual, she rolled the tapes as Prince laid down instrument after instrument, mixing and overdubbing in the same session (Eric Leeds overdubbed the sax part three days later)”

      https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/19/nothing-compares-2-u-prince-original-sinead-o-connor-family-classic-released#comments

      • Ryk says:

        RJS,

        If you click on the product on the princehitnrun.com site, the description states “The track was recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive ‘Warehouse’ in Eden Prairie by Prince’s long-time engineer Susan Rogers, and originally composed, arranged and performed in its entirety by Prince, aside from the backing vocals by Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St. Paul” Peterson. Also featured on the original track is saxophone work by Eric Leeds” which supports what elliott buckingham was saying.

        • OberonOZ says:

          RYK, elliott buckingham said “the backing group later became the family”. The info you supplied and RJS is basically the same. RJS quoted Susan Rogers who said Prince played everything except for Eric Leeds’ saxophone. There were some backing vocals from Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St Paul” Peterson. This is the same info supplied by princehitnrun.com.
          While I appreciate that Susannah, Paul and Eric were later in The Family, they were hardly a backing group on this track. They were an addition to the track created entirely by Prince. I dont think you can say that some backing vocals and sax make them a backing group, which is all I think RJS was trying to say.

  34. stephen king says:

    Hands up: I have purchased the picture disc and t-shirt now to ensure I don’t miss out on it. I look forward to paying the VAT and fee for collecting that… Will be doing my best to mitigate the cost by getting the black 7″ as cheaply as possible, as if a pound or two will really help! Thanks for the heads up Paul, my record collection loves you even if my bank balance doesn’t…

  35. Kauwgompie says:

    Love it. I’m not buying vinyl (gotta draw the line somewhere otherwise I would be homeless) so I hope this will be released on a future Prince SDE. Maybe Around the World In A Day as that was released in 85 and this song is from 84. Regardless, great find and very promising as it relates to what else is still in that vault.
    Also loved the video, seeing Prince rehearse his famous splits and other dance moves. Absolutely great to watch. What an artist, what a loss.

  36. Francois says:

    and what about Lovesexy vinyl reissue?

  37. John Orr says:

    Getting tired of this pre order nonsense. STILL waiting for Air glow in the dark vinyl to arrive from Amazon.com. After sending countless emails, because I’d not heard anything from them, it apparently ‘sold out’ already, and got the usual excuses. I’m gonna wait it out and I’ve been assured of ‘fast, priority’ shipping, we’ll see. It happens sometimes I know, but still, very frustrating to say the least. And apparently pre orders depend on what method of payment you use?! Either PayPal or credit card can determine how quick your payment comes off. That’s another story. This release looks good, but not a requirement unless you’re a diehard. And Paul, tut, tut, England and Europe?? So, we in Scotland, Wales and Ireland don’t qualify for a mention by name?? IDK, you Londoners eh!! Pulling your leg of course. ;)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Sorry about that. I do normally say UK… slip of the keyboard!

    • Klaus says:

      As far as i know Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England (aka UK and Republic of Ireland) are part of Europe, even though some of them want to leave the EU. Am i missing something?

    • Christopher Merritt says:

      Pre-ordered the Air glow in the dark vinyl as well in March – it was supposed to show up on April 6 – nothing but a “sorry your package is late” page from Amazon. I don’t really understand how if you pre-order it, it isn’t available at the time stated.

  38. Carl Noonan says:

    Amazing version, can’t believe this has been shelved for so long. Won’t be paying the ridiculous prices from the US though.

    • Francois says:

      I would not say “amazing”. This sound like a demo. the song is very far from Prince’s standards in terms of musical arrangements, I would think this has its place in “The Vault 1984” boxset, if it exists one day.

  39. movement says:

    This is surprisingly bad. I’m glad he let the song go because Sinead did a 1,000,000X better job with it.

    • Gi says:

      She didn’t – Nellie Hooper did, she just sing.
      Better than the version on the Hits by a mile.
      I think it’s a great version.

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