Sinéad O’Connor’s Raw Isolated Vocals for “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Prince first recorded a demo of “Nothing Compares 2 U” in 1984. Then Sinéad O’Connor made the song her own … and made it famous. Chris Birkett, who co-produced and engineered the 1990 track, remembers the circumstances behind the recording: Speaking to Sound on Sound, he recalls: “I think the intensity of Sinéad’s performance came from the breakup of her latest relationship.” “She had been dating her manager, Fachtna O’Ceallaigh, who’s a really good guy and had been instrumental in getting her deal with Ensign Records. However, their relationship had gone pear-shaped and they were in the process of breaking up when we recorded ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, so that’s probably why she did such a good vocal. She came into the studio, did it in one take, double-tracked it straight away and it was perfect because she was totally into the song. It mirrored her situation.” In the isolated track above, you can hear all of the rawness of the moment, captured just as Birkett heard it that day.

Related Content 

Sinéad O’Connor Makes Her First US Television Appearance: Watch Her Sing “Mandinka” on Late Night with David Letterman (1988)

Patti Smith’s Cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Strips the Song Down to its Heart

Hear a 19-Year-Old Prince Crushing It on Every Instrument in an Early Jam Session (1977)


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