|Single by The Bar-Kays|
|from the album Soul Finger|
|Released||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". 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. The idea for the title and the shouts had come from Stax songwriters Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
"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. 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. "Soul Finger" and "Knucklehead" were the first two tracks of the Bar-Kays' first LP, Soul Finger.
In other media
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.