Nothing Compares 2 U

"Nothing Compares 2 U"
Single by Sinéad O'Connor
from the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
Released 8 January 1990 (1990-01-08)
Genre Pop,[1] dream pop
  • 5:10
Label Chrysalis
Writer(s) Prince
Sinéad O'Connor singles chronology
"Jump in the River"
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
"The Emperor's New Clothes"

"Nothing Compares 2 U" on YouTube

Music sample
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
Sinéad O'Connor's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" (in which she changes the first line of the song from "13 days" to "15 days") from I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

"Nothing Compares 2 U" is a song written and composed by Prince for one of his side projects, The Family album by The Family band. It was later made famous by Irish recording artist Sinéad O'Connor, whose arrangement was released as the second single from her second studio album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. This version, which O'Connor co-produced with Nellee Hooper, became a worldwide hit in 1990. A music video, which has been described as iconic, was shot and received heavy rotation on MTV. Its lyrics explore feelings of longing from an abandoned lover's point of view.


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

Prince performed the song as a live duet with Rosie Gaines, subsequently released on his 1993 compilations The Hits/The B-Sides and The Hits 1, and the 2006 Ultimate Prince compilation. Prince also recorded a solo version of the song for his concert film, Rave Un2 the Year 2000, as well as for his 2002 live album, One Nite Alone... Live!

Commercial performance

The song became a worldwide hit, topping charts in O'Connor's native Ireland, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It also became a top-five single in France and a top-20 in Denmark. The single was certified platinum in Austria and the United Kingdom, and gold in Germany and Sweden.

In the United States it spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, keeping Jane Child's "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" from reaching the top spot; in addition, it was a number-one in Billboard Alternative Songs chart and reached number two on Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It became the third best-selling single of 1990, the 82nd best-selling single of the 1990s, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 1990. The song's popularity sent I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got to the top of the Billboard 200 where it stayed for six consecutive weeks.

Music video

The lone face of O'Connor made the video one of the most recognisable of the 1990s.


Directed by John Maybury, the clip consists mostly of a closeup on Sinéad O'Connor's face and her different stages of sadness and even anger as she sings the lyrics; the rest consists of her walking through an area of Paris known as the Parc de Saint-Cloud. Toward the end of the video, two tears roll down her face, one on each cheek. In the middle and at the very end of the video there is a shot from O'Connor's photo session for the I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got album cover.


The clip won three "Moonmen" at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards: Video of the Year (O'Connor became the first female artist to be awarded with it), Best Female Video and Best Post-Modern Video. It was nominated for Breakthrough Video, Viewer's Choice and International Viewer's Choice during the ceremony. The video also became the subject for many parodies and spoofs, such as Gina Riley's parody "Nothing Is There" on Fast Forward, referring to the fact that O'Connor tended to shave her head bald.[2]

Relationship with Prince

Speaking about her relationship with Prince in an interview with Norwegian station NRK in November 2014 O'Connor said, "I did meet him a couple of times. We didn't get on at all. In fact, we had a punch-up." She continued: "He summoned me to his house after 'Nothing Compares 2 U.' I made it without him. I'd never met him. He summoned me to his house—and it's foolish to do this to an Irish woman—he said he didn't like me saying bad words in interviews. So I told him to fuck off." O'Connor said: "He got quite violent. I had to escape out of his house at five in the morning. He packed a bigger punch than mine."[3]


Track listings

7" single
  1. "Nothing Compares 2 U" – 5:09
  2. "Jump in the River" – 4:13

CD maxi
  1. "Nothing Compares 2 U" – 5:09
  2. "Jump in the River" – 4:13
  3. "Jump in the River" (instrumental) – 4:04

Credits and personnel

Nothing Compares 2 U

Jump in the River

  • Sinéad O'Connor – music and lyrics, lead vocals, producer, mixing
  • Marco Pirroni – music and lyrics
  • Chris Birkett – engineering, mixing
  • Fachtna O' Ceallaigh – mixing


Weekly charts

Chart Peak
Australia (ARIA)[10] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 75)[10] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[11] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[12] 3
Canadian Adult Contemporary (RPM)[13] 1
Canadian Top Singles (RPM)[14] 1
Denmark (Tracklisten)[10] 19
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[15] 1
France (SNEP)[10] 5
Germany (Media Control AG)[16] 1
Ireland (Irish Singles Chart)[17] 1
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[10] 1
New Zealand (RIANZ)[10] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[10] 1
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[18] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[10] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[10] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[19] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[20] 2
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[21] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1990) Position
Australian Singles Chart[23] 1
Austrian Singles Chart[24] 2
Dutch Top 40[25] 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 11
Swiss Singles Chart[26] 6
UK Singles Chart[27] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[28] 3

End-of-decade charts

Chart (1990–1999) Position
Irish Singles Chart 7
UK Singles Chart 61
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 82


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[30] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[31] Platinum 30,000*
Germany (BVMI)[32] Gold 250,000^
Sweden (GLF)[33] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history

Country Release date
United Kingdom 8 January 1990
Worldwide 4 February 1990
United States 11 February 1990


  1. Gilbert, Sophie (April 21, 2015). "How 'Nothing Compares 2 U' Endured". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  2. "Gina Riley - Nothing is There!!! From Fast Forward". YouTube. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  3. Kelly, Aoife (2014-11-18). "'I told him to f*** off' - Sinéad O'Connor reveals she had punch-up with Prince". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  4. Breaking Dawn Soundtrack: Posted (2007-12-13). "Top 100 Songs of the '90s | VH1 Blog". Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  5. "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 50-21 | Features". Pitchfork. 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  6. Archived October 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "'Tightrope' | 100 Greatest Popular Songs: TIME List of Best Music |". 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  8. "Capital Cities - Nothing Compares 2 U". YouTube. 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  9. "Chris Cornell "Nothing Compares 2 U" Prince Cover Live @ SiriusXM // Lithium". YouTube. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U" (in French). Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  11. Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (NUMMER)" (in Dutch). Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  12. Medien, Hung. "SINÉAD O'CONNOR - NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (CHANSON)" (in French). Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  13. "Adult Contemporary - Volume 51, No. 25, May 05 1990". RPM. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  14. "Top Singles - Volume 51, No. 25, May 05 1990". RPM. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  15. Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  16. "Top 100 single" (in German). Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  17. "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  18. "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  19. "Archive Chart: 1990-02-03" UK Singles Chart.
  20. "Sinéad O'Connor – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Sinéad O'Connor.
  21. "Sinéad O'Connor – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Sinéad O'Connor.
  22. "Sinéad O'Connor – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Sinéad O'Connor.
  23. 1990 Australian Singles Chart (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
  24. 1990 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
  25. "Single top 100 over 1990" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  26. 1990 Swiss Singles Chart (Retrieved 3 September 2008)
  27. Music Week End of year Charts, 1990. pub.January 1991
  28. "Billboard Top 100 - 1990". Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  29. Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  30. Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  31. "Austrian single certifications – Sinéad O'Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved October 4, 2013. Enter Sinéad O'Connor in the field Interpret. Enter Nothing Compares 2 U in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
  32. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Sinéad O'Connor; 'Nothing Compares 2 U')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  33. "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  34. "British single certifications – Sinéad O'Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 4, 2013. Enter Nothing Compares 2 U in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  35. "American single certifications – Sinéad O'Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 4, 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
"Tears on My Pillow"
by Kylie Minogue
UK Singles Chart number-one single
28 January 1990 - 24 February 1990
Succeeded by
"Dub Be Good to Me"
by Beats International
Preceded by
"I'll Be Your Everything" by Tommy Page
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
15 April 1990 - 12 May 1990
Succeeded by
"Vogue" by Madonna
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