Listen to the studio version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” for the first time

By
Photography Robert Mapplethorpe

Published April 19, 2018

PRINCE BY ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE FOR INTERVIEW MAGAZINE IN 1990

The Purple One keeps on giving—today, Prince’s estate has shared a never-before-heard 1984 studio version of his all-time classic composition “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which became a number one hit in the hands of Sinead O’Connor six years later.

In an interview with The Guardian, Prince’s former sound engineer Susan Rogers describes the impetus behind the song. She describes how, during the summer of 1984, Prince was writing music in the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse—a rehearsal space he used before building Paisley Park—and he found himself on “a creative roll, cranking out a song a day.”

Rogers recalls that he was involved with a member of his backing band The Family, Susannah Melvoin, who appears on the backing vocals for “Nothing Compares 2 U”. “It was clear that she was becoming more important than the other girls he’d dated,” notes Rogers. “Simultaneously, his young housekeeper, Sandy Scipioni, had to leave suddenly to be with her family because her father died of a heart attack. Sandy ran Prince’s life. He kept asking, ‘When’s Sandy coming back?’”

Streaming the song in all its tearjerking, hip-thrusting glory below; the track also comes with archival footage of Prince and The Family at Flying Cloud Drive.

In other Prince news, Minneapolis police ruled today that no criminal charges will be filed in the musician’s accidental overdose on Fentanyl. You can read more here.