Song of the Day #1,595: ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – The Family

I’ll finish off the week with another cover I didn’t know was a cover.

I certainly knew Sinead O’Connor’s smash ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ was written by Prince (the number ‘2’ and the letter ‘U’ are kind of a giveaway). But I didn’t realize that it had been previously recorded by The Family, a band formed by His Purple Highness in 1985.

According to Wikipedia (and therefore absolutely true), Prince composed all of the songs and played all of the instruments on The Family’s debut album, then dubbed over the vocals of band members Paul Peterson and Susannah Melvoin.

He then, oddly, gave songwriting credit to the band members (and not himself) on the album’s liner notes, with the exception of today’s SOTD, which he did take credit for. Prince is weird.

O’Connor didn’t really change the song musically, but her passionate, vulnerable vocal performance (coupled with the lovely video, consisting of just an extreme close-up of her face) turned it into a powerful confessional worthy of its smash success.

This version definitely suffers in comparison.

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 away
Since you 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 n’guess what he told me
Guess what he told me
He said girl u better try to have fun
No matter what you’ll do
But he’s a fool
`Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

all the flowers that you planted, mama
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

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,595: ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – The Family

  1. Dana says:

    Another fascinating post. After reading this, I searched for versions by the symbol himself. I found 2 on YouTube, one solo where the audience sings the chorus and the other with Rosie Gaines. The latter version is posted here:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6r9p9_nothing-compares-2-u_music

    What I find interesting in the O’Connor version is the deemphasis of the instrumentation between verse lines as well as sinead singing a diminished note at the end of each chorus. I think both were effective choices and contributed to the ethereal re- imagining of this song.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    I shall live to be able to make note of music on a par wirh “the deemphasis of the instrumentation between verse lines as well as sinead singing a diminished note at the end of each chorus. I think both were effective choices and contributed to the ethereal re- imagining of this song”…then I will die, a complete human being. :)

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