Nothing Compares 2 U

"Nothing Compares 2 U" is a song written in the mid-1980s by Prince for The Family. In 1990, a cover version by Sinéad O'Connor became a number-one hit in many countries, charting in the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Germany. The subject of the song is actress Susannah Melvoin.

The Family version

In 1985, The Family (a funk band created as an outlet to release more of Prince's music) released a self-titled album. "Nothing Compares 2 U" appeared on the album, but was not released as a single and received little recognition.

Sinéad O'Connor version


Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor re-recorded the track in 1990 and included it on her second album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, bringing the song to worldwide prominence. The song's music video was a hit on MTV. The single topped the charts worldwide, including the United States, UK and Australia. Unusually (for a ballad), the song also topped the Modern Rock Tracks.

O'Connor's version was listed at #77 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.

Music video

Mainly shot in Paris, the video for "Nothing Compares 2 U" was directed by John Maybury. The clip consists almost solely of a closeup on O'Connor's face as she sings the song's lyrics. Toward the end of the video, two tears roll down her face, one per cheek. O'Connor stated on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s that it was caused by the lyric "All the flowers that you planted, Mama in the back yard/All died when you went away", because she had a very complex relationship with her late mother, whom she claims abused her. The clip won Best Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards – the first video by a female artist to win in this category.

Critical reception

  • In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the Sinéad O'Connor single at number 162 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, which contains only two songs of the 1990s ranked higher.
  • In a 2006 poll for a Channel 5 program "Britain's Favourite Break-up Songs", Sinéad O'Connor's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was voted fifth.
  • VH1 Classic listed Sinead O'Connor's version as the second greatest classic love song, behind Al Green's "Let's Stay Together".
  • In 2002, VH1 ranked the song the 18th greatest one-hit wonder.
  • In 2007, VH1 ranked O'Connor's rendition number 10 of the "100 Greatest Songs of the 90s".
  • In 2008, VH1 ranked the song the number 1 on "Final Countdown - Top 50 Heartbreakers".

Track listings

7" single

  1. "Nothing Compares 2 U" — 5:08
  2. "Jump in the River" — 4:13
CD maxi

  1. "Nothing Compares 2 U" — 5:08
  2. "Jump in the River" — 4:13
  3. "Jump in the River" (instrumental) — 4:04


Country Certification Date Sales certified
Austria Platinum May 15, 1990 30,000
Germany Gold 1990 150,000
Sweden Gold March 1, 1990 10,000
UK Platinum March 1, 1990 600,000
U.S. Platinum April 20, 1990 1,000,000


Chart (1989-1990) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 1
French SNEP Singles Chart 5
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 23
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks 1
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 1
End of year chart (1990) Position
Australian Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Swiss Singles Chart 6

Other cover versions


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