Screwdriver is the ninth track on Prince’s 39th studio album Hitnrun Phase Two. The track was first released almost three years earlier, however, on the stand-alone single Screwdriver. It was premiered two weeks earlier as an audio stream on Minnesota public radio station 89.3 The Current’s website, and as a lyric video stream on Prince’s official website 20pr1nc3.com. At the time of initial release it was unclear if this song was intended to be included on an album. It was later assumed to be part of Prince and 3rdEyeGirl’s Plectrumelectrum project, as the song was used as the introduction to the 3rdEyeGirl band, but it was later revealed that the studio version of the track was recorded prior to Hannah Ford and Donna Grantis joining Prince’s band.
The first public mention of the song was on 17 December 2012, when a 0:30 video rehearsal clip of the song was streamed on drummer Hannah Ford’s Facebook page with the message: A Taste of Rehearsal. Interestingly the drummer on the studio version of the song is John Blackwell, rather than Ford.
The video included new guitarist Donna Grantis, and ended with a text screen stating:
"2 C the rest of Donna’s audition holla at ya girl! We’ve got bootlegs 4 daazzzzzze every good thing in the vault... Coming 2013". As with Hannah Ford, however, Donna Grantis did not appear on the original studio version of the song. A 29-second clip of the studio version of the song followed the same day on YouTube, with an image showing lyrics from the song, again with the text "Coming 2013", but this was removed within a few hours of its posting.
On 16 January 2013, a 1:11 audio video rehearsal clip of the song was streamed on 3rd Eye Girl YouTube channel with the message: Prince just played for the new/screw at Fox 9.
On 5 February 2013, a 6:44 remix of the song was made available for download on 3rdEyeGirl.com website.
On 8 February 2013, a 1:08 commercial for a live version of the song to be released on February 10 2013 was streamed on 3rd Eye Girl YouTube channel. The same video was also streamed on Prince’s new website prince2013.com.
On 10 February 2013, just after presenting Record Of The Year to Gotye at 55th Grammy Awards, a 5:40 live video of the song was released simultaneously on prince2013.com and 3rdeyegirl.com.
The track was recorded in 2011 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota. with John Blackwell and Ida Nielsen In late 2012 or early 2013 the track was re-recorded with the newly-formed 3rdEyeGirl band; this version was released in early February 2013 as Screwdriver (Remix), although it is in fact a complete re-recording.
Screwdriver was included as the second track on a CD found at Paisley Park Studios following Prince’s death, labeled "Live Band Trax". The other tracks (Ain’t Gonna Miss U When U’re Gone, When She Comes, Shade Of Umber, Boyfriend, and The Secret Text) mostly stem from 2012 or early 2013, suggesting that this CD was compiled around that time. It is not known if the version included on the CD was a live in-studio take with the then-nascent 3rdEyeGirl line-up (perhaps even the Screwdriver (Remix) version mentioned above), or the original studio recording for the band members to learn.