Let's Work is the sixth track on Prince's fourth album Controversy, and, three months after the album's release, Let's Work was released as the album's second single.
While specific recording dates are not known, the album sessions took place in Spring and Summer 1981, at Prince's Kiowa Trail Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA and Hollywood Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, CA, USA. The track was originally recorded as Let's Rock (named after a dance called "The Rock" Prince had seen in clubs during the summer of 1981), and Prince wanted to release it as a single immediately after recording. Warner Bros. declined, and while Prince liked the track, he felt it needed to be renamed when released to avoid it seeming dated.
The song was completed at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, USA, between 14 and 23 August, 1981. Prince and Morris Day worked on the Dance Remix of the track on 8 December, 1981, two months after the track's initial release, also at Sunset Sound.
It was revealed in November 2003 on the NPG Music Club website that Morris Day plays drums on the extended portion of the Dance Remix, and that Prince and Morris Day switched drumming duties live as the tape was running. The Dance Remix contains sampled clips from Private Joy, Annie Christian and Controversy, the first time a Prince song sampled another of his songs (something he has done often ever since).
Various loops from the song were included in the NPG Music Club's short-lived Musicology Control Room Mixer, opened on 3 June, 2003, which appeared to be alternate recordings, but it is unclear when these were made. Since these are short loops lasting no more than a few seconds, they are not listed below.
On 21 June, 2013, an instrumental rehearsal of Let's Work featuring Prince (bass, Donna Grantis (guitar) and Hannah Ford (drums) was streamed live on 3rdEyeGirl LiveStream TV for 1:35 minutes.
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