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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