The Original Vs. The Cover – “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Welcome to another edition of The Original Vs. The Cover.  This time we are going to compare the song “Nothing Compares 2 U” to the original and the best cover of the song.  The Original was performed by the band The Family and the Cover was famously performed by Sinead O’Connor.  The song was written by Prince and he did perform this song in 1984 or so and it was finally released in 2018 so I can’t count that as the original since it wasn’t released before The Family’s version.  Prince did release a version with Rosie Gaines in 1993 which was again after both versions

The Family? What?  You never heard of them?  Not surprising.  The band was a creation of Prince as another outlet for HIS music to be released.  He was very controlling and involved in every aspect other than singing and performing.  As a result, after they released 1 album, 2 singles (which this song was not one) and after only 1 show, the lead singer, Paul Peterson aka. St. Paul, quit.  He felt Prince was too controlling and he felt restricted.

THE FAMILY

The Family’s version was never released as a single and you probably never heard this version before.  I hadn’t until I decided to do this song for the post.  I had trouble finding it and only found it on that Tube of You.

The is very stripped down.  It is mostly an organ playing with horns and keyboards.  No percussion whatsoever.  Paul Peterson’s vocals are really great and the backing vocals of Susannah Melvoin played nicely with Paul’s vocals. Paul had a haunting, painful feel to them which the song seems to have a lot of pain.

Plus, he sounds like Prince.  I guess when Prince is directing traffic, he will make it sound like he would do it.  However, as good as the song is, I see why it was never released as a single.  For 1985, it wouldn’t have played well on the radio.  It had no punch and it was really slow.

SINEAD O’CONNOR

Sinead released her version in 1990 on the album ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got’.  The song was huge for her and garnered her numerous awards from MTV and even listed as one of the Top 100 songs of the 90’s by VH1 and even Pitchfork and Time Magazine ranked it one of the best.

Sinead’s version is true to the original in tone and style although she adds a little more to the production, including percussion and a piano.  But the highlight of the song is Sinead herself.  Those vocals are second to none.  So powerful, so heartfelt so real.  She felt every ounce of pain the lyrics talk about.

What helped catapult this song was actually the video.  The video was basically close-ups of Sinead and her shaved head.  The tears rolling down her cheeks at the end of the song, took it over the top and really pulled the heartstrings which made this song so impactful and important for the time.

What I learned about her version while researching the song is that she did it without Prince’s permission.  She finally did meet him, but from what I can gather is they did not get along ver well.  She is a fiesty one and I don’t think that sat well with Prince.  I guess he couldn’t “control” her.

THE VERDICT

Okay, I am sorry but it really is no contest for me.  The Sinead O’Connor version, for me, is head & shoulders above ANY version of this song.  Yes, ANY…even Prince’s own version.  Sinead took this song and made it her own.  When I hear this, I don’t think Prince other than the fact he wrote it.  At the time, I didn’t even know he had written it when it came out.  Sinead’s vocals are the driving force and power behind it and no one can hold a candle when it comes to this song…yes, I like it!!

Let me know which version you like the best and why.  Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song.  If you prefer, Prince’s version, let me know as well.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

“Nothing Compares 2 U”

It’s been seven hours and fifteen days
Since you took your love away
I go out every night and sleep all day
Since you took your love awaySince you’ve been gone I can do whatever I want
I can see whomever I choose
I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
But nothing
I said nothing can take away these blues

‘Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

It’s been so lonely without you here
Like a bird without a song
Nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling
Tell me, baby, where did I go wrong

I could put my arms around every boy I see
But they’d only remind me of you
I went to the doctor and guess what he told me?
Guess what he told me?
He said, “Girl, you better try to have fun no matter what you do,”
But he’s a fool

‘Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

All the flowers that you planted, mother, in the back yard
All died when you went away
I know that living with you, baby, was sometimes hard
But I’m willing to give it another try

Nothing compares
Nothing compares to you
Nothing compares
Nothing compares to you
Nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

Written by Prince

13 thoughts on “The Original Vs. The Cover – “Nothing Compares 2 U”

  1. I’ll take The Family. Without the video images, Sinead’s version falls short with the false echo; I got tired of it. The Family provides the ying and yang of male and female voices, plus the hook of the saxophone; it’s not great, but it drew me in and didn’t let go.

    Liked by 1 person

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