Fingerprint File

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"Fingerprint File"
Song by The Rolling Stones
from the album It's Only Rock 'n Roll
Released31 August 1974
GenreFunk rock[1]
LabelRolling Stones
Songwriter(s)Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
Producer(s)The Glimmer Twins
It's Only Rock 'n Roll track listing
10 tracks
Side one
  1. "If You Can't Rock Me"
  2. "Ain't Too Proud to Beg"
  3. "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)"
  4. "Till the Next Goodbye"
  5. "Time Waits for No One"
Side two
  1. "Luxury"
  2. "Dance Little Sister"
  3. "If You Really Want to Be My Friend"
  4. "Short and Curlies"
  5. "Fingerprint File"

"Fingerprint File" is the closing track from the Rolling Stones' 1974 album It's Only Rock 'n Roll. It is one of their first attempts to branch out into dance or electronic music, and the song resembles music by Sly and the Family Stone. Key ingredients of the song are the rhythm guitar played by Mick Jagger, which features heavy phasing due to the use of the MXR Phase 100 effects pedal, and the highly jazz/funk-oriented bass guitar played by Mick Taylor. Keith Richards uses the wah-wah pedal for his guitar part. Bill Wyman is on synthesiser, Charlie Watts on drums, Billy Preston on clavinet, and Nicky Hopkins on piano. Charlie Jolly Kunjappu is featured on the tabla.

The lyrics, similar to David Bowie's "1984", released the same year, express frustration over government monitoring and surveillance activity, perhaps inspired by reports of the wiretapping of domestic "radical" groups in the US during the Nixon Administration.

A live version is featured on the 1977 live album Love You Live and the 2012 live album L.A. Friday (Live 1975), recorded during the Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas '75.

On most releases of It's Only Rock 'n Roll, "Fingerprint File" is mastered at a faster speed than the original recording. A 2011 Japanese SHM-SACD reissue of the album features a speed-corrected version of the song, running about a half-minute longer than on other releases.


  1. ^ Elliott, Paul (May 30, 2016). "The Top 20 Greatest Funk Rock Songs". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved February 1, 2019.

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