Breakdown (initially released as The Breakdown) is the third track on Prince’s 37th album Art Official Age, and had been released five and a half months earlier as a stand-alone single, where both the song and the single were titled The Breakdown.
After being played live throughout 2013 and Prince announcing it as his favorite current song on his Arsenio Hall Show appearance in March 2014, the song was unexpectedly released a few minutes before midnight on 18 April 2014 several hours after the announcement of a new deal with Warner Bros. Records, though the album Art Official Age was not announced at the time.
The song was also included as a download for pre-orders of the album when it was announced on 25 August 2014 (along with Clouds).
While specific recording dates are not known, basic tracking is believed to have taken place between Fall 2011 and early 2012 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, in the same sessions that produced Time, When Stars Collide and What It Feels Like.
The track was first heard when DJ Rashida played it prior to Prince’s DJ set on 19 January 2013, Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
During 3rdEye TV Show # 4 the chat moderator announced that Donna Grantis and Hannah Ford had been recording parts for Breakdown that evening at Paisley Park Studios (Studio C), suggesting new recording on the track took place on 22 June 2013, although the released version seems to be identical to the one first heard in January 2013, indicating that the additional recording was not kept.