Nothing compares to a new Prince record, right? Especially during unofficial Prince Week, the period commemorating the second anniversary of his death.
Warner Bros. is releasing today Prince’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a produced rendition of the demo tape he recorded in July 1984 for the Family to learn. Their recording, which included strings arranged by Clare Fischer, appeared on the 1985 album “The Family.”
On this newly released Prince record, he played all the instruments and sang lead vocals. Eric Leeds’ saxophone solo and backup vocals by the Family’s co-lead singers St. Paul Peterson and Susannah Melvoin were added later.
“I learned the melody and emotional approach from Prince’s version,” Peterson said Thursday. “He sounds great on it. My inflections are similar to his.”
In a weird twist of fate, as only can happen in a Princely world, Peterson said, “Warner Bros. sent me a copy a couple of days ago and I was sitting in the exact same spot in the exact same house 34 years ago when I received the cassette [of the song] from Prince.”
Of course, “Nothing Compares 2 U” famously went on to be covered by Sinead O’Connor, whose treatment in 1990 became an international smash. She was managed by Steve Fargnoli, who had formerly managed Prince when the song was written.
Prince’s demo was recorded in what he called “the Warehouse” on Flying Cloud Drive in Eden Prairie with engineer Susan Rogers.
Prince’s version is available for streaming on various services and will be available as a 7-inch black vinyl on May 25 from physical retailers.
The Family -- which emerged after the Time disbanded –featured Jellybean Johnson, Jerome Benton and Peterson of the Time as well as Susannah Melvoin, who is the twin sister of Prince & the Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin, and saxophonist Eric Leeds, whose brother Alan was Prince’s tour manager at the time. The group disbanded after one album and one concert at First Avenue.
In 2011, the Family reunited using the moniker fDeluxe. The group has since issued three albums and continues to give occasional performances. In fact, fDeluxe will play Sunday at Paisley Park as part of Celebration 2018.
Here is a new video of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" with him in rehearsal with the Revolution: