Prince’s archivist discovered the recording on a tape reel in his mythical Vault.
Prince’s archivist discovered the recording on a tape reel in his mythical Vault. Supplied

Nothing compares to secret Prince song

PRINCE'S mythical vault has opened again to gift fans with his studio recording of Nothing Compares 2 U on the eve of the second anniversary of his accidental death.

It is the first time the studio recording of the song has been released and it is accompanied by a video of never seen before footage of Prince rehearsing his unrivalled dance moves with The Revolution in a Minnesota warehouse.

Nothing Compares 2 U was recorded in 1984 with Prince giving the song to The Family, the band which featured his guitarist Paul "St Paul" Peterson, his girlfriend at the time Susannah Melvoin, saxophonist Eric Leeds and drummer Jellybean Johnson.

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While they recorded a version for their 1985 self-titled debut album, the song would catapult Sinead O'Connor to the top of the charts courtesy of that unforgettable single-tear video.

Prince would go on later to perform the song live and did release a version featuring singer Rosie Gaines on his Hits and B Sides compilation in 1993.

But the newly released studio recording is more in line with his sound of the mid 1980s when he was cranking out funkified pop hits, complete with searing guitar riffs and a ripping sax solo.

The Prince Estate official archivist Michael Howe discovered the recording on a two-inch multitrack reel in the singer's vault while doing a 1984-era inventory.

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007 file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.
FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007 file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. CHRIS O'MEARA/AP

"After retrieving my jaw from the floor, we took the reel upstairs, analysed it, put it up on the Studer 24 track machine, and digitised it to 24/192," he said.

"Even our 'faders up' rough mix was compelling enough to indicate that this was something very special indeed."

Howe said no Prince composition covered by another artist enjoyed more chart success than the Sinead O'Connor version which reached No. 1 in 20 countries.

"So hearing the song in its original context performed in its entirety by the author makes it particularly noteworthy," he said.

Prince reportedly wasn't a fan of O'Connor's version.

"He told me he didn't like it. Unless he asked them, he didn't like anyone covering his songs," Peterson, who sang on The Family version, told The Guardian.

 

Sinead O’Connor’s version in 1990 made her a global superstar. Picture: Supplied
Sinead O’Connor’s version in 1990 made her a global superstar. Picture: Supplied

 

The pop legend's longtime sound engineer Susan Rogers suggests the song wasn't about his girlfriend Melvoin but his young housekeeper Sandy Scipioni.

The singer felt lost when Scipioni had left to care for her father after his heart attack, with the lyrics painting a picture of the domesticity she helped create for the workaholic creative genius.

The song and the rehearsal footage on the video were recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, his base before he created the Paisley Park complex.

The release of Nothing Compares 2 U also coincides with the reboot of his HitNRun online store and Prince2Me interactive fan site.

Nothing Compares 2 U arrives a week before the world premiere of the Nothing Compares 2 Prince tribute concerts in Sydney and Melbourne next week featuring his sister Tyka and a collective of musicians and singers who worked with the superstar throughout his career.

Nothing Compares 2 Prince is at the Sydney Opera House on April 27 and 28 and Melbourne's Hamer Hall on April 29.



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