Recording Sinéad O’Connor’s breakthrough hit was easy in some ways, but difficult in others — for example, all compression was forbidden…

Richard Buskin writes as follows: Towards the end of the award‑winning video that was shot to promote her 1990 international hit single ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, tears run down each of Sinéad O’Connor’s cheeks as she sings, “All the flowers that you planted, Mama, in the back yard, all died when you went away.” These, she’d later explain on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s, were prompted by thoughts of the complicated relationship that she had shared with her late mother.

Not that O’Connor had written this number about longing for a lost love. Instead, Prince had composed it for the Family, a band signed to his Paisley Park label, inspired by a member who had recently split up with his girlfriend and recorded by the funk outfit for their eponymous 1985 album. Identifying with the lyrics, O’Connor imbued the song with a strikingly authentic, heartfelt intensity that, aided by the equally stark and powerful video, transported it to the top of the charts in no less than 15 countries, including Britain and America, where it was certified platinum after four weeks as the number one single on the Billboard Hot 100.

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