Dirty Mind is the first track on Prince's third album Dirty Mind, and, six weeks after the album's release, Dirty Mind was released as the album's third commercially-released single (although When You Were Mine had also been made available as a promotional release prior to this). Also in 1980, it was included as the fourth and final track on a French promotional release of Uptown.
In 1982, it was included as the fourth track on the Australian 12" of 1999, the first single from Prince's fifth album 1999.
In 1993, the track was included as the second track on Prince's compilation album The Hits 2 (also included as the second disc of The Hits / The B-Sides).
While specific recording dates are not known, the album sessions took place from May to June 1980, in Prince's Wayzata Home Studio in Wayzata, Minnesota (credited as "Somewhere in Uptown"), and completed in June 1980 at Hollywood Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California.
The song is the first time a bandmember (Dr. Fink) was given co-writing credit for music, as he had developed the repeated keyboard line (Matt Fink "became" Dr. Fink while playing the opening act with Prince during the early stages of the Rick James Tour '80, when he replaced a jailbird costume with a surgical costume, to avoid comparisons with Rick James, who was performing in a jailbird costume during the same tour).