Arts & Entertainment

From the vaults, a showstopper: Hear Prince's long-lost 1984 'Nothing Compares 2 U'

The audio is the original 1984 recording by Prince of
The audio is the original 1984 recording by Prince of "Nothing Compares 2 U." The video is previously unseen rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution from summer 1984.
Prince (via YouTube)

It's already been a busy day for Prince news, as prosecutors announced that no criminal charges would be brought against Prince associates over the star's accidental death in 2016. In a bit of curious timing, Prince's estate has just released a long-lost 1984 studio recording of the singer performing his classic composition "Nothing Compares 2 U."

As a find, it's significant: Prince originally wrote the track for a band he'd assembled called the Family, but it didn't become a hit until 1990, when it became a sensation for Sinéad O'Connor. Prince would go on to perform his own take on the song in concert; a live version even appeared on his three-disc "The Hits/The B-Sides" collection 25 years ago. But the recording released today has never been heard until now.

It's remarkable how seamlessly this "Nothing Compares 2 U" fits alongside Prince's classic mid-'80s works. It's no bare-bones demo: Prince recorded it with engineer Susan Rogers, Eric Leeds on saxophone, and backing vocalists Susannah Melvoin and Paul "St. Paul" Peterson. Its video is a treat, too, as it pairs the song with a charming assortment of previously unseen Prince & The Revolution rehearsal footage.

The release of "Nothing Compares 2 U" arrives as debate continues over how to handle Prince's estate and unreleased material. The star left behind no will, and his presumed heirs are in dispute over the handling of his archives. Last year, a judge blocked the release of a Prince EP called "Deliverance," which George Ian Boxill, a recording engineer who worked with Prince around 2006, had hoped to sell.

"Nothing Compares 2 U" is out now via Warner Music.

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