Soul Finger

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This article is about the song by the Bar-Kays. For the album by Art Blakey and The Messengers, see Soul Finger (album).
"Soul Finger"
Single by The Bar-Kays
from the album Soul Finger
B-side "Knucklehead"
Released April 14, 1967
Recorded 1967
Length 2:18
Label Volt Records
Writer(s) Jimmy King
Phalon Jones
Carl Cunningham
Ben Cauley
Ronnie Caldwell
James Alexander

"Soul Finger" is the first single released by R&B group The Bar-Kays. It was issued by Stax Records on the Volt Records label on April 14, 1967.

The song was written by the Bar-Kays while they were rehearsing with Norman West, doing a cover of J.J. Jackson's "But It's Alright".[1] It begins with the melody to the popular children's song "Mary Had a Little Lamb", and then cuts into the main riff, punctuated with a high trumpet trill. It features a chorus of neighborhood children who had been loitering outside the recording studio; they were instructed to shout the words "Soul Finger!" and were paid with Coca-Colas.[1] The idea for the title and the shouts had come from Stax songwriters Isaac Hayes and David Porter.[1]

"Soul Finger" was a hit in the United States, and peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard R&B Singles chart and #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] The B-side to the single was "Knucklehead", written by Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper. "Knucklehead" charted at #28 on the R&B Singles chart and #76 on the Hot 100.[2] "Soul Finger" and "Knucklehead" were the first two tracks of the Bar-Kays' first LP, Soul Finger.[3]

In other media[edit]

The song was featured in the 1985 film Spies Like Us during a scene in which Soviet missile control personnel hold a party. Spies Like Us star Dan Aykroyd had previously covered "Soul Finger" with John Belushi and their band, The Blues Brothers, on their album, Made in America. The song also appears in the 2007 film Superbad and the 2009 film Soul Men.

The song was covered by Dexy's Midnight Runners and is on the compilation The Projected Passion Revue.


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Liner notes to The Complete Stax/Volt Singles, 1959-1968. Atlantic, 1991, p. 31.
  2. ^ a b Billboard Singles, Allmusic
  3. ^ Review of Soul Finger, Allmusic