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Watch Sinead O’Connor Perform a Breathtaking ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ on Her Final Tour

The devastating news that Sinead O’Connor has died arrived Wednesday afternoon. Details are scant, but O’Connor had battled mental health problems for years. She was just 56.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad,” her family wrote in a statement. “Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

O’Connor was a prolific artist who released 10 albums between 1987 and 2014, and she landed many hits on the European charts, including “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “Mandinka,” “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home,” and “Three Babies.” But her defining moment came in 1990, when she covered Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” on her second LP, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. The song shot to Number One all across the planet and transformed O’Connor into a superstar.

In her 2021 memoir, Rememberings, O’Connor recounted a harrowing trip to Prince’s house around this time that culminated in a violent pillow fight. “On the first thump I get, I realized he’s got something in the pillow, stuffed down the end, designed to hurt,” she wrote. “He ain’t playing at all. A few more thumps get exchanged and he goes upstairs. But this time, we’ve somehow arrived beside the front door. I open it and run out.”

The experience soured her on Prince for the rest of her life. And in 2015, she told fans she was going to stop playing “Nothing Compares 2 U” at her concerts. “I don’t want audiences to be disappointed coming along to a show and then not hearing it, so I am letting you know here that you won’t,” she wrote on Facebook. “If I were to sing it just to please people, I wouldn’t be doing my job right, because my job is to be emotionally available. I’d be lying. You’d be getting a lie. My job is to give you honesty. I’m trained in honesty. I can’t act. It just isn’t in my training. I have ceased singing other songs over the years for the same reason.”

Four years later, she changed her mind and started playing the song again. “You’ve got to be crazy to be a musician,” O’Connor told The New York Times in 2021 when asked about Prince, “but there’s a difference between being crazy and being a violent abuser of women…As far as I’m concerned, [‘Nothing Compares 2 U’”‘] is my song.”


When she came to America for a West Coast tour in February 2020, which wound up being the last shows of her career, she sang the song every single night. The final concert took place Feb. 12, 2020, at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz, California; there’s only a blurry, partial video of “Nothing Compares 2 U” from that night.

But check out this stellar, fan-shot footage of a show in San Francisco just five days earlier. As you can see, it’s a breathtaking performance. She pours her heart into every word. It’s tempting to call her version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” the greatest cover song in history, but we tend to agree with O’Connor. By the end, the song belonged to her and nobody else.

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