A previously unheard version of Prince’s single “Nothing Compares 2 U” was unearthed on Thursday by the legendary musician’s estate. The original song was recorded by the Purple One in 1984, six years before Sinéad O’Connor released the hit version of the song. Prince’s estate uncovered the original version of the song in Paisley Park’s underground vault. The estate’s official Vault Archivist, Michael Howe, spoke about the process of uncovering the track in a statement:
I spotted the 2” multitrack reel in the Vault some weeks back while doing a 1984-era inventory. After retrieving my jaw from the floor, we took the reel upstairs, analyzed it, put it up on the Studer 24 track machine, and digitized it to 24/192. Even our ‘faders up’ rough mix was compelling enough to indicate that this was something very special indeed.
The original track was recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minn., by Prince’s long-time engineer Susan Rogers. It was originally composed, arranged and performed in its entirety by Prince himself, aside from the backing vocals and the saxophone played by musician Eric Leeds. Prince released a live take of the song in 1993, three years after O’Connor reimagined the single and made it a smash hit.
“No Prince-penned song performed by another artist has enjoyed more chart success (#1 in over a dozen countries) and overall cultural impact than Sinead O’Connor’s 1990 recording,” continued Howe, “so hearing the song in its original context performed in its entirety by the author makes it particularly noteworthy.”
Accompanying the song is a new music video featuring never-before-seen footage of Prince & The Revolution practicing their choreography in the same Eden Prairie warehouse where the original track was recorded, during the summer of ‘84. The rescued version is immediately available to stream, download or purchase as two 7” vinyl singles (in picture disc format and black standard vinyl). You can stream the song through your preferred platform here and purchase the picture disc vinyl through the estate’s website. A standard black vinyl version of the single is also set to release on May 25.
Watch the music video to the Prince’s original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” below, followed by the video of the Purple One’s performance in 1982 via the Paste Cloud.
Thursday also brought new revelations regarding Prince’s death—find out more here.