Prince Estate Blocks “Nothing Compares 2 U” From Appearing In Sinéad O’Connor Documentary
Prince’s Estate apparently refused to allow “Nothing Compares 2 U” to be used in Showtime’s documentary on Sinéad O’Connor, Nothing Compares, which premiered yesterday (September 30). As Billboard notes, the documentary instead uses an ambient score with scenes from the music video as the clip’s director John Maybury and O’Connor give commentary.
Speaking to Billboard, Prince’s half-sister Sharon Nelson says there were a couple of reasons for denying the use, and one of them has to do with prioritizing Prince’s own rendition of the song with Rosie Gaines on guest vocals. “Nothing compares to Prince’s live version with Rosie Gaines that is featured on the Hits 1 album and we are re-releasing that album on vinyl on November 4th. I didn’t feel [Sinéad] deserved to use the song my brother wrote in her documentary so we declined. His version is the best.” (Prince’s version with Gaines originally came out in 1993.)
Documentary director Kathryn Ferguson responded: “Initially we had intended to use the song, but we received a refusal (which as the rights holders, was their prerogative),” Ferguson tells Billboard. “In the end we were very happy with that section of the film. It meant the focus remained on Sinéad’s words, and on her own songwriting.”
O’Connor’s rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” originally came out in 1990 and appeared on her second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. It spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Last year, O’Connor described in her memoir Rememberings how after her version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” became a huge hit, Prince asked her to visit him at his Hollywood mansion. In an interview with the New York Times, she described how Prince allegedly “chastised her for swearing in interviews, harangued his butler to serve her soup though she repeatedly refused it, and sweetly suggested a pillow fight, only to thump her with something hard he’d slipped into his pillowcase.” After she escaped the mansion on foot during the night, “he stalked her with his car, leapt out and chased her around the highway.”
“You’ve got to be crazy to be a musician,” the Irish musician told the Times. “But there’s a difference between being crazy and being a violent abuser of women.”
Showtime’s Nothing Compares documentary is out now.