The story of the soulful song "Nothing Compares to You" by Sinead O'Connor

"You have to be crazy to be a musician, but there's a difference between being crazy and being a violent abuser of women."

About the song "Nothing Compares to You" Sinead O'Connor: history and meaning, clip and facts

"Nothing Compares to You" - a famous song, familiar to many from the clip of the charismatic Irish performer Sinead O'Connor. And few people know that it belongs to Prince. The pop icon wrote this hit in the mid-80s especially for her band. "The Family": the ballad complemented the debut of the same name of the project, but did not gain much success. And only in the early 90s "Nothing Compares to You" gained popularity performed by Sinead. The lyrics explore the feeling of longing from the point of view of a person in love. Version included in the album "I Don't Want What I Haven't Got", and the music video for it gave rise to a kind of cult of parodies.

As for the original version, it was released as a single in 2018. But even earlier, in 1993, Prince together with Rosie Gaines presented his own performance "Nothing Compares to You".

Source of inspiration, background

Sinead O'Connor
Sinead O'Connor

"Nothing Compares to You" is one of the greatest ballads of the 90s, and the iconic music video and powerful vocal performance contributed a lot to this success O'Connor. The Irish singer's version topped the charts worldwide and became an international hit that remains popular to this day. However, the author of the famous composition is another person.

Prince wrote this ballad in 1984. A year later, the group "The Family" was created, and the artist decided that the song would be a good addition to their debut album. The composition really fit well into the record, but did not win success. It is worth noting that the track was recorded with the participation of Suzanne Melvon, Paul Peterson and Erica Leeds and for the first time as a single was released only in 2018!

Another curious fact is that Prince, the author of almost all the songs included in the debut disc, transferred the copyright to the band members for all his creations, except for the iconic ballad.

Why O'Connor did a cover

Sinead O'Connor
Sinead O'Connor

To the fact that O'Connor recorded a cover of "Nothing Compares to You", listeners are obliged to the manager of the singer. Co-director of Ensign Records label Chris Hill recalled:

“Fahtna O'Kelly, Sinead's manager, brought a cassette of this song, and when I heard it, I cried ... I just sat there with tears in my eyes. O'Kelly then received a call from Sinead saying, "Chris is crying." "Was it that bad?" she asked, upset. But no! It was too good…”

O'Connor recorded a cover in 1989 and it was soon released as a single. The composition became an international hit and topped the charts in fifteen countries! This contributed to the success of the subsequent "I Don't Want What I Haven't Got".

Music video

Clip on "Nothing Compares to You" filmed in the national French park Saint-Cloud. The close-up of the singer's face made the video one of the most recognizable - more 286 million views on YouTube.

Director responsible for filming John Mayburyknown for his collaborations with "Pet Shop Boys". Near the end of the clip, we see tears on O'Connor's cheeks. According to the singer, they were real:

“I didn’t expect to start crying. But then I thought that I should let it happen. At that moment, I was thinking about my mother, who died in a car accident in 1985…”

The most famous parody was the video of the Australian artist Gina Riley, named "Nothing Is There": it was filmed specifically for a comedy TV show "Fast Forward". Riley explained the concept and title of the video - "There's Nothing Here" by the fact that O'Connor often shaved her head baldly.

The true meaning of the song


Prince never explained the meaning of his songs. This also applies to "Nothing Compares to You". Later O'Connor put forward their own version:

“It seems to me that this song does not have any specific meaning. It was created so that each person could associate it with some kind of loss.

Some have speculated that the song was inspired by Prince's housekeeper, Sandy Scipioniwho left him to be with her family after the death of her father. So, the singer's sound engineer Susan Rogers recalled:

“Sandy was a very valuable person for Prince. She made sure his favorite drink was always in the fridge, and she made sure the house was clean. There were fresh flowers on the piano, and socks and underwear were washed. It could be an inspiration."

What happened between Prince and Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor and Prince
Sinead O'Connor and Prince

When "Nothing Compares to You" performed O'Connor became a hit Prince invited the singer to his mansion. However, this night turned into a nightmare for Sinead. Later, the singer says:

“He invited me to his house in Los Angeles and began to scold me for swearing in an interview. When I told him to go to hell, Prince turned to threats. He hit me and then I ran away from him in the middle of the night.”

According to the singer, Prince “jumped out and chased her, but soon got behind the wheel and chased her in his car”! Sounds awful. O'Connor also stressed:

"You have to be crazy to be a musician, but there's a difference between being crazy and being a violent abuser of women."

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