Prince‘s estate denied Sinead O’Connor use of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ for her new documentary, it has been revealed.
Nothing Compares, a new film directed by Kathryn Ferguson, will chronicle O’Connor’s rise to fame in the early ‘90s. In addition to input from people close to the singer, the documentary will include a new interview with O’Connor herself.
A great part of this success came from her decision to cover ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in 1990, with the song partially giving the film its title.
However, the cover won’t appear in the film, with Prince’s half-sister and co-heir telling Billboard that the estate refused the request because “I didn’t feel she deserved to use the song.”
Sharon Nelson added: “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.”
Director Ferguson then added: “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.”
In a recent trailer for Nothing Compares, which you can watch above, O’Connor discusses the controversies of her career.
The trailer for Nothing Compares – which is available for streaming and on-demand on in the US now, and comes to UK cinemas on October 7 – opens with footage of the singer being met with cheers and boos during one of her concerts, before launching into a discussion of the 1990 song that courted controversy for a large period of her career: ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’.
“The level when ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ became a hit was extraordinary”, one of the documentary’s narrators says, noting that “the song went number one everywhere in the world.” The trailer later hears from an employee on Saturday Night Live, the sketch comedy show where O’Connor infamously tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II in protest of clerical child abuse.
“I had come across an article about families who had been trying to lodge complaints against the church for sexual abuse and were being silenced,” O’Connor elaborates in the trailer, declaring that “an artist’s job is sometimes to create difficult conversations that need to be had.”
O’Connor’s 1992 SNL performance of the Bob Marley song ‘War’ – which also saw the singer replace the lyric “racism” with “child abuse” — was the subject of parodies and debate for years after. Referencing the fallout in the trailer, O’Connor says “they tried to bury me. They didn’t realise I was a seed.”
The trailer arrives amid a period of personal grief for O’Connor herself, after she lost her son in January of this year. Days later, O’Connor was admitted to hospital, and later cancelled her gigs for the rest of the year.