Prince’s Original ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ Released

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Prince, during the Purple Rain tour in 1985. (Photo: © The Prince Estate, by Nancy Bundt; used with permission)

The original version of Prince’s iconic song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” was released today (April 19), 2 days before the 2nd anniversary of his passing. This previously unreleased version was recorded in 1984, six years before 1990’s reimagining by Sinéad O’Connor and before Prince started performing the song live.

The track was recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive “Warehouse” in Eden Prairie, Minn., 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. The new version of the song, via the Prince Estate, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Records, is available to stream, to purchase via digital retailers and as two 7″ vinyl singles (in picture disk and standard black vinyl formats).

In the announcement, Michael Howe, long-time industry A&R executive, and the Prince Estate’s official vault archivist, said: “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.”

Howe continued: “No Prince-penned song performed by another artist has enjoyed more chart success (#1 in 20+ countries) and overall cultural impact than Sinead O’Connor’s 1990 recording, so hearing the song in its original context performed in its entirety by the author makes it particularly noteworthy.”

Related: 10 cool covers of Prince songs

The song is accompanied by a video 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. Captured for Prince as a part of his rehearsal process, the footage is presented for the very first time in a video directed by Andrea Gelardin and Ruth Hogben. The video offers a glimpse into Prince’s total commitment to his art and its emotional impact, even when no audience is present.

Watch the official video

After the successful launch of the Prince HitNRun online pop-up store last November, the Prince Estate is bringing back the concept, where the limited edition, picture disk vinyl will be sold exclusively. Fans will also be able to purchase a variety of official Prince merchandise, including pieces that draw from his iconic Dirty Mind and Lovesexy eras. The black vinyl 7″ will be available for pre-order from major physical retailers and will be released on May 25.

Related: Prince revealed his genius in 1981 interview

Also from the announcement: The Prince Estate has also launched a new site for fans 2 showcase what Prince means to them. Prince2Me is an interactive fan experience that explores what Prince means, individually and collectively 2 his fans. The Prince Estate has also announced that this will be the first of many online experiences 2 come, each will shine a new light on his artistry. Fans who use Twitter to share their Prince2Me messages using #Prince2Me or #NothingCompares2U will be able to activate an exclusive Prince Love Symbol Twitter emoji:

Prince Emoji

The Estate has also launched an immersive annotated discography website highlighting the incomparable breadth and depth of Prince’s recorded catalogue. Featuring audio previews, photos, videos, quotes and editorial commentary, the discography site provides a rich platform for fans old and new 2 immerse themselves in the creative genius of Prince.

Limited Edition 7″ picture disk and black vinyl tracklisting and credits

A. NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (EDIT VERSION) [4:12]
B. 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

Download or stream the track here.

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