At the exact same time radio stations across the country committed to play “Nothing Compares 2 U” in honor of Prince on Wednesday afternoon, the band of his peers that originally recorded the song debuted a new orchestral version of it to the world.
The members of fDeluxe -- the Prince-affiliated group formerly known as the Family -- reworked the heart-wrenching classic with the Minneapolis chamber ensemble STRINGenious and unveiled it on their YouTube channel at exactly 5:07 p.m. That time is a nod to the song’s opening line, “It’s been seven hours and 13 days,” which lined up to the time when emergency workers pronounced Prince dead (10:07 a.m. on April 21).
All longtime Prince associates, fDeluxe features singer/bandleader Paul Peterson, one-time girlfriend Susannah Melvoin also on vocals (sister of the Revolution’s Wendy Melvoin), saxophonist Eric Leeds and the Time’s drummer Jellybean Johnson. Prince wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” for their eponymous 1985 album. Sinead O’Connor plucked it off the record five years later and made it into a hit single. The orchestrations on the new version follow the arrangements originall written for the song by the late Clare Fischer.
“This was a labor of love,” Peterson explained of the re-recording. “Everyone donated their time as a ‘thank you’ to Prince for his musical contributions to the world.”
“It’s with a musically heavy heart that tonight we honor our dear friend,” Susannah Melvoin says at the start of the video.
The rest of it pretty much speaks for itself.