The Prince estate has revealed that it denied permission for Sinead O’Connor to use her version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in a new documentary about her career because they “didn’t feel she deserved to use the song”.
Although best known via O’Connor’s 1990 cover of it, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ was written and originally performed by Prince. Hence the need for the estate – via its publishing deal with Universal Music – to grant permission for O’Connor’s version of the song to be included in the documentary, which is called ‘Nothing Compares’.
“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 4 Nov”, Prince’s half-sister Sharon Nelson tells Billboard. “I didn’t feel she deserved to use the song my brother wrote in her documentary so we declined. His version is the best”.
Whatever you think about that, I don’t think denying a sync request for this documentary is going to make people think of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ as O’Connor’s song any less.
And director Kathryn Ferguson reckons that not having the song in the film hasn’t harmed it in anyway. Despite there being an entire section discussing the track’s success when it was released as O’Connor’s debut single.
“Initially we had intended to use the song, but we received a refusal – which as the rightsholders, was their prerogative”, Ferguson says. “In the end we were very happy with that section of the film. It meant the focus remained on Sinead’s words, and on her own songwriting”.
Here’s the trailer for ‘Nothing Compares’. You can hum whatever version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ you like while you watch it: