Significant Songs (68)

Nothing Compares 2U

As a rule, I don’t care for cover versions of original songs that I already like. There are some exceptions though, and this is perhaps one of the best examples.

In 1985, Prince, always the innovator, and searching for new ways to express his talent and ideas, released an album titled ‘The Family’. This was the result of one of his many diversions from his normal recording and performing, and something he hoped to run alongside his regular appearances and record releases. This track was included, but the album achieved only moderate success. The song was soon forgotten, and the project abandoned.

Five years later, Irish singer and outspoken advocate of womens’ rights, also known for her many controversial opinions on the Catholic religion, Sinead O’Connor, recorded a cover version. It was included on her best-selling second album, ‘I Do Not Want What I haven’t Got’, in 1990. Crucially, the accompanying video was produced to cinema quality. Almost entirely a close-up of her face, and shot in a muted colour palette, she was able to portray emotions rarely seen in the pop video output of the day. With her stunning looks, cropped hair, and amazing vocals, this combination took the song to the top of the charts in countries all over the world.

Even though I was already a fan of Prince’s original version, I could not deny the superiority of this recording. It took the song to a new level; the power of the vocals, combined with the emotion in the video, was irresistible. It is just sublime, and I invite you to enjoy it.

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16 thoughts on “Significant Songs (68)

  1. I also did not know that Prince version is the original. I think the version by Sinead ist much better. It touches totally and gets under your skin!
    I think I have to dig out my old CD’s out again!

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    1. It has obviously been a surprise to most readers Irene. One of my best yet!
      The version by Sinead is superior, and I am glad to see that it gets under your skin. That makes these articles worthwhile!
      Very best wishes, Pete.

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  2. I had no idea Prince did the original version and have to say that I prefer O’Connor’s version.
    Yes pretty, yes vocally strong and definitely sung with emotion. I remember hearing at the time her tears in the video were real.
    One particular outspoken political remark she shared with the world shaped my opinion that I would not buy any of her material but I can not deny that this is a great song and she is a talented performer.

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    1. Your surprise seems to be the general trend Jimmy. She is definitely hard to like, and I don’t have many of her recordings. However, I cannot disregard the excellence of this one. That would just be churlish.
      Cheers Jimmy, take care mate. Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, I never knew of the Prince version, only Sinead O’Connor’s!! I’m largely a Classical person, so often only get to hear stuff other people introduce me to…. Having listened to the Prince original now, I definitely think Sinead’s is the better!

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  4. Sinéad O’Connor is one of those names with which I’m familiar. But I can’t honestly say I’d ever listened to her. I had to play this video twice in order to form a valid opinion because the tune was not readily apparent the first time around. After my second listening, I decided I like the song. Sinéad O’Connor certainly sings well. Thanks for yet another winner.

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    1. David, you might be interested in the original Prince version. Here it is. I like it very much too, especially the sax solo, but think Sinead bettered it. Glad to hear that it grew on you.
      Best wishes as always. Pete.

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      1. This particular video is blocked in the U.S., but I found another one and listened. The Prince version I listened to doesn’t have a saxophone solo but rather what sounds like a keyboard of some kind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLJOc-1pBpA
        It features an apocalyptic vision, possibly scenes from the film “Deep Impact.” I liked this version, but still prefer Sinéad O’Connor’s. That seems to be the general consensus here as well.

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