1000 X’s & O’s is the tenth track on Prince’s 38th album Hitnrun Phase One.The history of the track goes back 23 years, however.
The track was originally recorded as A 1,000 Hugs And Kisses in late April - early May 1992, at Studios 301, Sydney, Australia, while Prince was in Sydney on the Diamonds And Pearls Tour (during the same set of sessions as Goldnigga, Deuce & A Quarter, Goldie’s Parade, Everybody Get On Up and Baby Doll). The original version was written solely by Prince and was intended for Rosie Gaines, who sang lead vocals on the recording. Prince had planned on recording a rap by Carmen Electra to include in the song, but he decided against it on the advice of his bandmembers.
In late 1993 or early 1994, Rosie Gaines' vocals were replaced by Nona Gaye at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and her version (still known as A 1,000 Hugs And Kisses) was intended for a planned project titled MPLS, but this project remained unfinished. Around the same time, however, it was considered for inclusion on a proposed album by Nona Gaye, but this was also left unfinished.
During Prince’s 2007 21 Nights In London : The Earth Tour, he unexpectedly played the track during a solo piano set at the 31 August 2007 show (after having played a brief portion of it on 28 August 2007), marking its first live performance, over 15 years after its initial recording.
A new recording of the track was made in Autumn 2014 at Paisley Park Studios with new music produced by Joshua Welton and inspired by Aaliyah’s song Rock The Boat (written by Static Major, Eric Seats and Rapture Stewart) at Prince’s request. This version was premiered over the PA prior to an unannounced Prince show at Paisley Park Studios on 16 November 2014 (a.m.) (along with Revelation, X’s Face, a new recording of If I Could Get Your Attention, Ain’t About 2 Stop and a remix of Pretzelbodylogic), following a show by FKA twigs in a different room. On 24 July 2015 the track was announced on BBC News as included on Prince’s 38th album Hitnrun Phase One, and the updated title was only known when an official tracklist surfaced a few days before the album’s availability on the Tidal streaming platform. The new title is somewhat confusing: "X’s & O’s" is often written as a shorthand, with "X" meaning a kiss, and "O" meaning a hug, so the revised title would actually read "A thousand kisses and hugs" (perhaps this was to avoid the title being read "A thousand noughts and crosses", however, with noughts and crosses being another name for the game referred to in Tictactoe).