Soul Finger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Soul Finger"
Single by The Bar-Kays
from the album Soul Finger
B-side "Knucklehead"
Released April 14, 1967
Recorded March 31, 1967
Length 2:18
Label Volt Records
Songwriter(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 to perform a cover of J.J. Jackson's "But It's Alright".[1] It begins with the melody of 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 "Soul Finger!" and were paid with Coca-Cola.[1] The idea for the title and the shouts came from the Stax songwriters Isaac Hayes and David Porter.[1]

"Soul Finger" was a hit in the United States, peaking at number 3 on the U.S. Billboard R&B singles chart and number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] The B-side of the single was "Knucklehead", written by Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper, which reached number 28 on the R&B singles chart and number 76 on the Hot 100.[2] "Soul Finger" and "Knucklehead" were the first two tracks of the Bar-Kays' first LP, Soul Finger, issued on July 10, after nine more tracks had been recorded on June 23.[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. Dan Aykroyd, a star of the film, had previously covered "Soul Finger" with John Belushi and their band, the Blues Brothers, on their album, Made in America. The song was also used in the 2007 film Superbad and the 2009 film Soul Men.

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


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