If you’re feeling weary, raw, enervated, at a loss, lonely, nostalgic, hopeful, or in need of a good sing-into-the-mirror track, this original 1984 studio version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” will save you.
The video above, released by the Prince estate, includes previously unseen footage of Prince & The Revolution rehearsing during the summer of 1984. As Jezebel’s Rich Juzwiak wrote upon the release of a new Prince album following his death, enjoying material he didn’t necessarily want out there is morally complicated. Prince was notoriously controlling about his public image and music. According to Pitchfork, the song was first recorded by The Family, a band formed by Prince, for their 1985 album. It sounds considerably different there and as sung by Sinead O’Connor in 1990, the most popularized version. Compared to Prince’s vocals, they sound like a synthesized elevator track and a mournful dirge.
I guess what I’m saying is that Prince may not have wanted us to hear the above, nor see him rehearsing in studio, but it also gave me a wonderful, healing gift. Four minutes of bliss and cathartic emotion. Thank you for that, Prince. If anything, nothing else will quite compare to this version ever again.