Two days before the second anniversary of Prince’s unexpected passing, his estate has teamed with Warner Bros. Records to release a tantalizing treat from his legendary vaults. Today, Warner Music Group released the Purple One’s original, never-before-released version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” written and first released by his side project The Family in 1985 but best-known in Sinead O’Connor’s chart-topping 1990 rendition. This is the first previously unreleased music to escape the Prince vault since last year’s deluxe Purple Rain reissue.
The original Prince studio version was recorded at the Flying Cloud Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota by engineer Susan Rogers and featured background vocals by Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St. Paul” Peterson as well as saxophone by Eric Leeds. Prince composed, arranged, and otherwise performed the track entirely by himself.
Archivist Michael Howe recently located the multitrack tape in Prince’s vault. He noted in the accompanying press release, “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… No Prince-penned song performed by another artist has enjoyed more chart success (No. 1 in over a dozen 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.”
The song’s release comes in conjunction with Celebration 2018, the gathering of Prince fans happening now through April 22 at the artist’s famed Paisley Park outside Minneapolis. Prince’s estate has also released a music video for “Nothing Compares 2 U” with previously unseen footage of Prince and the Revolution at a choreography rehearsal in the Eden Prairie warehouse around the same period.
Stay tuned for any further updates on archival releases from the Prince estate!