|Single by The Bar-Kays|
|from the album Soul Finger|
|Released||April 14, 1967|
|Recorded||March 31, 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". 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. The idea for the title and the shouts came from the Stax songwriters Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
"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. 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. "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.
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. 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.