Olivia Rodgrigo’s cover of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ is yet another testament to a true timeless classic
From Prince to Sinéad O’Connor and now Olivia Rodrigo, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ has managed to stay at the forefront of our minds for nearly 40 years now.
When we think of “Nothing Compares 2 U”, Sinéad O’Connor’s (now Shuhada Sadaqat) emotive rendition of the classic is what instantly springs to mind.
With a shaved head and a simple black polo neck, the Irish artist left an indelible mark on this iconic breakup anthem with up close and personal frames as tears trickled down her pale cheeks in the Grammy award-winning music video.
Bringing a whole new level of emotion and a unique cadence all her own to the track, O’Connor’s cover topped the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1990, and clung to the charts for 21 long weeks. So, it’s not surprising that many believe the tune to be her own… but the original was actually released five years prior.
Written by Prince and performed by his short-lived group ensemble, The Family, the “Purple Rain” singer later gave his own funk-infused rendition of the hit song in 1993 alongside New Power Generation’s Rosie Gaines.
A song that deals with the crushing aftermath of a breakup, the theme of heartbreak is a common thread that runs through the most popular songs in modern history.
Covered by Kelly Clarkson at a concert in Dublin, Irish singer Lisa Hannigan, and even Aretha Franklin, we’ve seen many varied iterations of the classic throughout the years. Madonna paid tribute to Prince by giving the song a twirl at the 2016 BBMAs, and the queen of covers Miley Cyrus, recently mashed it up with “Wrecking Ball” for her latest live album.
The most recent artist to try her hand at the classic is someone with a great deal of experience in writing and singing about heartbreak: Olivia Rodrigo.
During a recent performance at Fairview Park in Dublin last week, the “good 4 u” singer lent her vocals to “Nothing Compares 2 U” in front of 5,000 fans, and it was heart-wrenchingly fantastic.
— Lisa ? (@Lisa_Sharpe94) June 30, 2022
The 19-year-old has pulled out a number of covers and special guests over the course of her SOUR tour and festival appearances. At Glastonbury, Olivia Rodrigo was joined by Lily Allen for a rousing rendition of “F*ck You”. Taking aim at the decision to overturn Roe v Wade, Rodrigo named the five members of the Supreme Court “who have shown us that, at the end of the day, they truly don’t give a sh*t about freedom.” G’wan Olivia.
As well as all that, the “Driver’s License” singer recently transported fans gathered in Toronto right back to their angsty roots by bringing out pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne for a surprise performance of “Complicated”, a true early aughts anthem.
It just goes to show, no matter how much time has passed since the original release of a timeless classic, it can be given a new lease of life at any given moment — and nothing compares 2 a quality cover.