Prince’s estate has blocked the use of the hit song “Nothing Compares 2 U” in the recently released Sinéad O’Connor documentary, Nothing Compares, which dropped on Friday (September 30).
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The documentary uses an ambient score with scenes from the song’s music video while the vid’s director John Maybury and O’Connor talk.
Speaking to Billboard, Sharon Nelson, who is Prince’s half-sister, said there were a few reasons for not allowing the use of the song. One of them has to do with highlighting Prince’s rendition of the song, which includes Rosie Gaines on vocals. That version came out in 1993.
She said, “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.”
The Nothing Compares director, Kathryn Ferguson, said in response, “Initially we had intended to use the song, but we received a refusal [which as the rights holders, was their prerogative]. 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 version came out in 1990 and was on her second studio LP, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. It was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
Another reason—if one were to read between the lines—may have to do with what O’Connor said in her Rememberings about the Purple One. She said that after “Nothing Compares 2 U” became a hit, Prince asked O’Connor to visit his mansion in Hollywood. And then things went a little sideways.
In an interview with the New York Times, the Irish singer said Prince “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.”
Then, she alleges, after she escaped the mansion on foot during the night, Prince “stalked her with his car, leapt out and chased her around the highway.”
Added O’Connor to the Times, “You’ve got to be crazy to be a musician. But there’s a difference between being crazy and being a violent abuser of women.”
Check out the trailer for the Showtime doc, which is out now.
Photo: Primary Wave