"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, who covered the song and released it as the second single from her second studio album, . However, not until O'Connor recorded and produced the version along with I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got Nellee Hooper did it become 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 ]
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 "Nothing Compares 2 U" appeared on the album but it was not released as a single, and received little recognition. The Family.
Prince performed the song as a live duet with
Rosie Gaines, subsequently released on his 1993 compilations and The Hits/The B-Sides Prince also recorded a solo version of the song for his concert film, The Hits 1. as well as for his 2002 live album, Rave Un2 the Year 2000, 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
; in addition, it was a number-one in Billboard Hot 100 chart and reached number two on Billboard Alternative Songs chart. It became the third best-selling single of 1990, the 82nd best-selling single of the 1990s, and was certified Billboard Adult Contemporary platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 1990. The song's popularity sent to the top of the I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got where it stayed for six consecutive weeks. Billboard 200
Music video [ edit ]
The lone face of O'Connor made the video one of the most recognisable of the 1990s.
Development [ edit ]
Mainly shot in
Paris, the music video for "Nothing Compares 2 U" was directed by John Maybury. O'Connor's tears toward the end were unplanned. She stated on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s that it was caused by the lyric "All the flowers that you planted, Mother/in the back yard/All died when you went away," because she had a very complex relationship with her late mother, who used to abuse her in childhood.
Concept [ edit ]
The clip consists almost solely of a closeup on Sinead O'Connor's face as she sings the lyrics, sometimes with angry expression; 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 album cover. I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
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 referring to the fact that O'Connor tended to shave her head bald. Fast Forward,
Cover versions [ edit ]
This section needs additional citations for . verification (June 2013)
Eurodance group Chyp-Notic covered the song in 1990.
Dune covered the song on their 1997 album , which was recorded with the Forever London Session Orchestra. A faster Eurodance remix of the song, "Nothing Compares", was made by
DJ Fuze for issued in 1999. Dancemania SPEED 2 The song was covered by
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on their 2003 album . Take a Break The song was covered by
Northern Kings on their 2008 album . Rethroned It was covered by
Shiny Toy Guns for the Goth Electro Tribute to Prince compilation in 2005. Welsh band
Stereophonics performed a cover version of the song for the album for the charity 1 Love War Child Music. South African
indie pop rock group Fire Through the Window covered the song on their self-titled debut album.
Daniel Ho (under the pseudonym The Coconutz) recorded a version of the song, translated into Hawaiian (titled " ‘A’ohe like me ’oe") by Amy Ku'uleialoha Stillman, for the soundtrack to the film [1 ] . Forgetting Sarah Marshall A version of the song by
Dan Kelly was included on the 2007 compilation tribute . No Man's Woman The classical girl band
All Angels covered the song on their 2007 album . Into Paradise The song was covered by jazz vocalist
Jimmy Scott on his album Holding Back the Years. In 2007, the song was performed on
by eventual winner Australian Idol Natalie Gauci on the Top 6 Contestant's Choice night. Gauci also recorded a cover for her album, . The Winner's Journey Aiden Grimshaw covered the song on
, which was highly praised. The X Factor series 7 R&B vocalist
Goapele recorded a cover using an instrumental version of the Kanye West song " Runaway" as the backing music. Norwegian duo Brødrene Löwenstierne recorded a cover of the song for the
Prince tribute compilation Shockadelica in 2008.
Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy covered the song at his live solo shows. In 2012, the vocalist of Brazilian band
Capital Inicial, Dinho Ouro Preto, covered the song, included in his third solo album, Black Heart.
Capital Cities covered the song as a single for their YouTube channel. [2 ]
placed the Sinéad O'Connor single at number 162 on their list of Rolling Stone 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".
[3 ] 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. [4 ] The song was listed at number 77 on
Billboard's "Greatest Songs of All Time". [5 ]
magazine included "Nothing Compares 2 U" in its 2011 (unranked) list of "All-TIME 100 Songs". TIME [6 ] 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."
The song's music video inspired the music video for
Miley Cyrus's song, Wrecking Ball.
Track listings [ edit ]
"Nothing Compares 2 U" – 5:09
"Jump in the River" – 4:13
"Nothing Compares 2 U" – 5:09
"Jump in the River" – 4:13
"Jump in the River" (instrumental) – 4:04
Credits and personnel [ edit ]
Weekly charts [ edit ]
Year-end charts [ edit ]
Australian Singles Chart
[20 ] 1
Austrian Singles Chart
[21 ] 2
Dutch Top 40
[22 ] 1
Swiss Singles Chart
[23 ] 6
UK Singles Chart
[24 ] 2
Billboard Hot 100 [25 ] 3
End-of-decade charts [ edit ]
UK Singles Chart
Billboard Hot 100 [26 ] 82
Certifications [ edit ]
Release history [ edit ]
8 January 1990
4 February 1990
11 February 1990
References [ edit ]
^ Hawaiian lyrics on www.danielho.com
^ Breaking Dawn Soundtrack: Posted (2007-12-13). "Top 100 Songs of the ’90s | VH1 Blog". Blog.vh1.com . Retrieved 2011-11-01.
^ Pitchfork Top 200 Tracks of the 90s
^ Billboard Hot 100 Chart 50th Anniversary
^ ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’
^ 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.
^ Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (NUMMER)" (in Dutch). ultratop.be . Retrieved August 21, 2011.
^ Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (CHANSON)" (in French). ultratop.be . Retrieved August 21, 2011.
^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 51, No. 25, May 05 1990". RPM . Retrieved August 17, 2011.
^ "Top Singles - Volume 51, No. 25, May 05 1990". RPM . Retrieved August 17, 2011.
^ Nyman, Jake (2005). (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
^ "Top 100 single" (in German). charts.de . Retrieved August 17, 2011.
^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association . Retrieved August 17, 2011.
^ " Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 20. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
^ " Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.
^ " Sinead O'Connor Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs for Sinead O'Connor.
^ " Sinead O'Connor Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Sinead O'Connor.
^ " Sinead O'Connor Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Sinead O'Connor.
^ 1990 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
^ 1990 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
^ "Single top 100 over 1990" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40 . Retrieved 12 April 2010.
^ 1990 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
^ End of year Charts, 1990. pub.January 1991 Music Week
^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1990" . Retrieved 2009-09-15.
^ 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.
^ "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
^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Sinead O'Connor; 'Nothing Compares 2 U')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie . Retrieved October 4, 2013.
^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden . Retrieved October 4, 2013.
^ "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
^ "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