Late in his career, Prince's changed the way he had worked for decades: He brought in Joshua Welton, the husband of 3rdEyeGirl drummer Hannah Welton, to co-produce and co-write much of the material on 2015's HITnRUN Phase One.

In an interview promoting that record, Welton used "HARDROCKLOVER' as an example of how this partnership worked: "Prince said to me, 'I need something that starts off quiet, and then I just want it to erupt and then I want you to go back… like this roller coaster.' And so I said, "Ok, cool,'" Welton told the BBC. "So 'HARDROCKLOVER' was done literally almost as soon as it came out. Actually, that and the last song on the album ("June") were made literally in the same hour."

Although he had entrusted Joshua with those responsibilities, Prince's penchant for creating at all hours of the day never changed. But that pressure was eased by the fact that, before they started collaborating, they had spent the previous nine months becoming friends, cracking jokes and playing ping-pong at Paisley Park.

"When you've got an iconic person like Prince standing over your shoulder, you've got to produce at this level all the time," he added. "As a friend, you don't want to bring anything that is less than what he's looking for. Why would you give your son or daughter a stone if he's asking for bread? But when you're working with a friend, that's different than trying to make sure your boss is happy. When you've had times you've been on the floor laughing, and you're red in the face and there are tears rolling down your cheeks, and you've got inside jokes. That, to me, made the working experience a breeze.

"HARDROCKLOVER" never made it into Prince's set lists, but 3rdEyeGirl guitarist Donna Grantis told the Current that they did jam on it at least once. "I distinctly remember rehearsing this song and just standing a few feet away from him playing rhythm guitar and just hearing him play the most unbelievable guitar solo," she said. "Even though I had been jamming, playing, and recording for years, those moments of being awestruck happened all the time."

Hear Prince Perform "HARDROCKLOVER"

 

Prince's Bandmates: Where Are They Now?