Nothing Compares 2 U

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"Nothing Compares 2 U"
Single by Sinéad O'Connor
from the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
Released 8 January 1990 (1990-01-08)
Format
Recorded 1989
Genre Pop
Length
  • 5:10
Label Chrysalis
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s)
Sinéad O'Connor singles chronology
  • "Jump in the River"
  • (1988)
  • "Nothing Compares 2 U"
  • (1990)
  • "The Emperor's New Clothes"
  • (1990)
Music video
"Nothing Compares 2 U" on YouTube
Music sample
Sinéad O'Connor's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" from I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

"Nothing Compares 2 U" is a song originally written and composed by Prince for one of his side projects, The Family. It was later made famous by Irish recording artist Sinéad O'Connor, whose arrangement was released as the second single from her second studio album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. This version, which O'Connor co-produced with Nellee Hooper, became a worldwide hit in 1990. A music video, which has been described as iconic, was shot and received heavy rotation on MTV. Its lyrics explore feelings of longing from an abandoned lover's point of view.

Background[edit]

In 1985, The Family, a funk band created as an outlet to release more of Prince's music, released their first and only album, the self-titled The Family. "Nothing Compares 2 U" appeared on the album but it was not released as a single, and received little recognition.

Prince performed the song as a live duet with Rosie Gaines, subsequently released on his 1993 compilations The Hits/The B-Sides and The Hits 1. Prince also recorded a solo version of the song for his concert film, Rave Un2 the Year 2000, as well as for his 2002 live album, One Nite Alone... Live!

Commercial performance[edit]

The song became a worldwide hit, topping charts in O'Connor's native Ireland, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It also became a top-five single in France and a top-20 in Denmark. The single was certified platinum in Austria and the United Kingdom, and gold in Germany and Sweden.

In the United States it spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100; in addition, it was a number-one in Billboard Alternative Songs chart and reached number two on Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It became the third best-selling single of 1990, the 82nd best-selling single of the 1990s, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 1990. The song's popularity sent I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got to the top of the Billboard 200 where it stayed for six consecutive weeks.

Music video[edit]

The lone face of O'Connor made the video one of the most recognisable of the 1990s.

Concept[edit]

The clip consists almost solely of a closeup on Sinead O'Connor's face and her different stages of sadness as she sings the lyrics; the rest consists of her walking through an area of Paris, known as the Parc de Saint-Cloud. Toward the end of the video, two tears roll down her face, one on each cheek. In the middle and at the very end of the video there is a shot from O'Connor's photo session for the I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got album cover.

Reception[edit]

The clip won three moonmen at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards: Video of the Year (O'Connor became the first female artist to be awarded with it), Best Female Video and Best Post-Modern Video. It was nominated for Breakthrough Video, Viewer's Choice and International Viewer's Choice during the ceremony. The video also became the subject for many parodies and spoofs, such as Gina Riley's parody "Nothing Is There" on Fast Forward, referring to the fact that O'Connor tended to shave her head bald.

Cover versions[edit]

Legacy[edit]

  • In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the Sinéad O'Connor single at number 162 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, which contains only two songs of the 1990s ranked higher.
  • In a 2006 poll for a Channel 5 program "Britain's Favourite Break-up Songs", Sinéad O'Connor's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was voted fifth.
  • VH1 Classic listed Sinead O'Connor's version as the second greatest classic love song, behind Al Green's "Let's Stay Together."
  • In 2002, VH1 ranked the song the 18th greatest one-hit wonder.
  • In 2007, VH1 ranked O'Connor's rendition number 10 of the "100 Greatest Songs of the 90s".[4]
  • In 2008, VH1 ranked the song the number 1 on "Final Countdown - Top 50 Heartbreakers".
  • On July 4, 2009, VH1 Classic ranked #12 on "Top 20 Flashback from the 90s".
  • In September 2010 Pitchfork Media included the song at number 37 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.[5]
  • The song was listed at number 77 on Billboard's "Greatest Songs of All Time".[6]
  • TIME magazine included "Nothing Compares 2 U" in its 2011 (unranked) list of "All-TIME 100 Songs".[7]
  • On 28 May 2012 on the 'Magic' channel this song was ranked No1 of the 90's Popbox Mega Power Ballads.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Finger Lenting Good", Hayley performs this song to her brother Steve to try and get him to cry, Steve calling it "the saddest song ever."

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[28] Platinum 30,000x
Germany (BVMI)[29] Gold 250,000^
Sweden (GLF)[30] Platinum 50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[32] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Release date
United Kingdom 8 January 1990 (1990-01-08)
Worldwide 4 February 1990 (1990-02-04)
United States 11 February 1990 (1990-02-11)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Daniel Ho Creations - Nothing Compares 2U". Danielho.com. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  4. ^ Breaking Dawn Soundtrack: Posted (2007-12-13). "Top 100 Songs of the ’90s | VH1 Blog". Blog.vh1.com. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  5. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 50-21 | Features". Pitchfork. 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "'Tightrope' | 100 Greatest Popular Songs: TIME List of Best Music | TIME.com". Entertainment.time.com. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U" (in French). lescharts.com. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (NUMMER)" (in Dutch). ultratop.be. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (CHANSON)" (in French). ultratop.be. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 51, No. 25, May 05 1990". RPM. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 51, No. 25, May 05 1990". RPM. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  13. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  14. ^ "Top 100 single" (in German). charts.de. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 20. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  17. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.
  18. ^ "Sinead O'Connor Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Sinead O'Connor.
  19. ^ "Sinead O'Connor Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Sinead O'Connor.
  20. ^ "Sinead O'Connor Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Sinead O'Connor.
  21. ^ 1990 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
  22. ^ 1990 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
  23. ^ "Single top 100 over 1990" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  24. ^ 1990 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
  25. ^ Music Week End of year Charts, 1990. pub.January 1991
  26. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1990". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  27. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Sinead O'Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved October 4, 2013.  Enter Sinead O'Connor in the field Interpret. Enter Nothing Compares 2 U in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
  29. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Sinead O'Connor; 'Nothing Compares 2 U')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  31. ^ "British single certifications – Sinead O'Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 4, 2013.  Enter Nothing Compares 2 U in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  32. ^ "American single certifications – Sinead O'Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 4, 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
"Tears on My Pillow"
by Kylie Minogue
UK Singles Chart number-one single
3 February 1990
(four weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dub Be Good to Me"
by Beats International