Chris Cornell has released a moving acoustic cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U” – the Sinéad O’Connor hit that Prince wrote – as a tribute to the late songwriter. The song’s passionate vocals and raw recording (you can hear Cornell’s mic bang against his guitar) play into the track’s threadbare emotion.
To accompany the recording, Cornell penned a tribute to an artist that fascinated him. “Prince’s music is the soundtrack to the soulful and beautiful universe he created, and we have all been privileged to be part of that amazing world,” he wrote. “I performed his song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ for the first time a couple months ago. It has a timeless relevance for me and practically everyone I know.
“Sadly, now his own lyrics in this song could not be more relevant than at this moment, and I sing them now in reverence as I pay tribute to this unequaled artist who has given all of our lives so much inspiration and made the world so much more interesting,” he continued. “We will miss you Prince!!!”
Prince originally wrote the song in 1985 for the Family, a band he’d signed to his Paisley Park imprint at Warner Bros. that featured his sometime fiancée Susannah Melvoin on vocals. It appeared on their self-titled album that year. O’Connor’s version came out in 1990 as the second single to her sophomore album, I Do Not What I Haven’t Got. The recording’s video, which featured just her face singing the song as she cried, became her breakthrough. It reached the top of the Hot 100.
Prince began performing the song at his own concerts a few months after O’Connor’s version came out. A stunning live version of the tune, a duet with singer Rosie Gaines, appeared on his 1993 compilation The Hits/The B Sides. He performed that song at his last full concert at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, a week before his death.