101 is the eighth track on Sheena Easton's ninth album The Lover In Me, and, eight months after the album's release, 101 was released as the album's third single. 101 was written and produced by Prince (credited as Joey Coco).
Basic tracking took place on 10 January 1987 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California (four days before Jaguar).
In a 2012 interview, Sheena Easton discussed the song's recording:
"When you work with Prince, he's one of those kind of guys that likes to keep you off guard. You'd get the phone call saying 'Hey, come down to the studio. There's something I'd want you to hear.' Then you'd get down there, like with 101 and he'd play it and I'd be like, 'I don't know' and he'd say, 'Well, just go and sit and listen to it a little bit.' I'd go and he'd come right in and say, 'Let's go.' 'But I don't know it completely,' [I'd say]. 'Well just sing what you know, then,' [he'd say]. There's this part in there where I kinda go off-melody and I just start taking higher and higher and he says, 'Well, that's not the right melody but we're keeping that and we're gonna work with that.' And so it's one of those things that's really organic - just a great moment in the studio. Plus I like the production. I love the subway doors opening and closing. He wanted it to be very haunting, and to just be about the desperation in the voice - [and] about the concept of you being away from this person for forever, it seems, and you just can't bear it for one more night."
In the same interview, she declared that: "of all my songs I've ever done, that's my favorite."