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The Family, Warner Bros. Records (1985) The Family © 1985, Warner Bros. Records
Singles Review (4.5 / 5) Prince Biography Related Artists

The Family

Warner Bros. Records

Nothing Compares 2 U

The Family is an ensemble put together in 1984 out of the wake of the disbanding of The Time, following the release of Ice Cream Castle. All its tracks are written by Prince (under the pseudonym of Jamie Starr) except River Run Dry2 – co-written with Bobby Z. Most of the songs were written during the Purple Rain Tour. It was also the first side-project album put out by Paisley Park Records. It was recorded in the summer of 1984 at Prince’s warehouse studio at Flying Cloud Drive in Minneapolis.

A promotional tour was planned but even before the album’s release the group had disbanded after “St” Paul Peterson quit due to creative differences with Prince. Peterson’s departure is noted in Prince’s lyrics to Dream Factory “So I’m quittin’ my friends much to their surprise” in 1986. Thus The Family was the group’s first and only album. The Family is notable in Prince lore in that it contains the original 1984 recording of Nothing Compares 2 U (which he later give to and was famously re-recorded in 1990 by Sinead O’Connor) and for the song the Revolution outtake Mutiny.

I bought a house with that song.

Prince wrote Nothing Compares 2 U for his then fiancee and The Family vocalist, Susannah Melvoin – in 1990 he received a Grammy nomination for this track, for Song Of The Year. Melvoin is also the subject of other notable tracks such as Wally, Forever In My Life and If I Was Your Girlfriend from Sign O The Times.

The Family

Paul "St. Paul" Peterson
Jellybean Johnson
Bass Guitar
Terry Lewis
Susannah Melvoin
Eric Leeds
Jerome Benton
All other instruments


Prince (as The Family) and David Z.
Paisley Park Records
Warner Bros. Records
Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann and Laura LiPuma
35 years, 8 months ago on 12 August 1985
Running Time
US Chart Peak
UK Chart Peak
Orig. Formats


  1. High Fashion [feat. Susannah Melvoin] (5:06) 1
  2. Mutiny (3:57)
  3. The Screams Of Passion [feat. Susannah Melvoin] (5:26) 1
  4. Yes (4:27)
  5. River Run Dry [feat. Susannah Melvoin] (3:31) 2
  6. Nothing Compares 2 U [feat. Susannah Melvoin] (4:31)
  7. Susannah's Pyjamas (3:58)
  8. Desire [feat. Susannah Melvoin] (4:58)

1 Released as singles.
2 Written by Bobby Z.

Singles from The Family

The Screams Of Passion single from The Family, Paisley Park Records (1985)

The Screams Of Passion

Paisley Park Records

19 July 1985
US Chart Peak
UK Chart Peak
  1. The Screams Of Passion [Edit] (3:10)
  2. Yes (4:27)
High Fashion single from The Family, Paisley Park Records (1985)

High Fashion

Paisley Park Records

6 December 1985
US Chart Peak
UK Chart Peak
  1. High Fashion [Edit] (3:45)
  2. Susannah's Pajamas (3:58)

The Family – review

In truth, Prince created The Family to keep fiancée Susannah Melvion involved in the studio. But the legacy of their debut album (there have been others since but none close to ‘the real thing’) is writ large in Prince’s story. Two of the songs became the stuff of legend: Mutiny, a Prince track showcased in the Purple Rain tour but never included as one of his B-sides, it was instead given to The Family to record. The other is Nothing Compares 2 U, the original version of the song he gave famously to Sinead O’Connor who rerecorded in in 1990 and turned it into her one hit record (they fell out over it and didn’t speak again since). The song, however, was written about Susannah and Prince’s fears about their faltering engagement. Yet, dare I say these are not its best tracks, that distinction belongs to Desire, a charming, soaring score that’s got a soothing heartbeat it would be wonderful to hear Prince’s vocals, but St Paul Peterson does a terrific job. There are also two instrumentals, Yes and Susannah’s Pyjamas, setting the foundation for the later Madhouse projects. Although it was until only recently was I bought into the Madhouse vibe – feeling the project a distraction from Prince’s direction of travel and more something that he just needed to get out of his system in order to move on – the tracks are nonetheless better than the two album’s worth of material created under the Madhouse project. So crucial was The Family, when Prince created his own label Paisley Park Records this was the second record it put out, second to his own Around The World In A Day.

The Family

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Nothing Compares 2 U

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