Rockhard In A Funky Place is the eighth and final song on Prince’s sixteenth album, known as “The Black Album” (originally planned for release as his tenth album, albeit with no title or artist credit). In 1987, horn lines from the track were included in the live version of I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man included on the Sign O’ The Times movie.
Basic tracking took place on 28 October 1986 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California (the day after a re-recording of Feel U Up, the same day as Rebirth Of The Flesh, two days before Good Love). The track was included as the eighth and final track on the 5 November 1986 configuration of the Camille album (credited to the pseudonym Camille), which was later aborted. A few weeks later, it was included as the third track on the second disc as the album developed into the triple-album Crystal Ball on the 30 November 1986 configuration. The track was removed when the album was eventually pared down and became Sign O’ The Times.
The distinctive horn arrangement/hook was written by Eric Leeds for an (at that time) unfinished song called Pacemaker, inspired by Eric Dolphy’s work. This Pacemaker part was often played live as a horn interpolation in I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man. A slightly different and faster version of this horn arrangement was also included on It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night from 1987 onwards and Housequake on the Lovesexy Tour, cued by Prince shouting 'Kick some ass' and then accumulating in the hook from Duke Ellington’s Take The ‘A’ Train. Eric Leeds later recorded a version of Pacemaker for his second solo album, but was not satisfied with the final result and didn’t include it on Things Left Unsaid.