Soul Finger

Last updated
"Soul Finger"
Single by The Bar-Kays
from the album Soul Finger
B-side "Knucklehead"
ReleasedApril 14, 1967
RecordedMarch 31, 1967
Length2:18
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.

Single (music) Type of music release usually containing one or two tracks

In the music industry, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download or commercial radio airplay and are expected to be the most popular. In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album.

The Bar-Kays are an American soul, R&B, and funk group formed in 1966. The group had dozens of charting singles from the 1960s to the 1980s, including "Soul Finger" in 1967, "Son of Shaft" in 1972, and "Boogie Body Land" in 1980.

Stax Records is an American record label, originally based in Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, the label changed its name to Stax Records in 1961 and shared its operations with Volt Records, a sister label created to avoid the impression of favoritism among radio stations playing their records.

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]

Norman West was a British Labour Party politician.

Cover version later version of a song already established with a different earlier performer

In popular music, a cover version, remake, cover song, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer of a previously recorded, commercially released song.

Melody linear succession of musical tones in the foreground of a work of music

A melody, also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal sense, a melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm, while more figuratively, the term can include successions of other musical elements such as tonal color. It may be considered the foreground to the background accompaniment. A line or part need not be a foreground melody.

"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]

<i>Billboard</i> Hot 100 Song chart in U.S

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Booker T. Jones American musician

Booker Taliaferro Jones Jr. is an American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer and arranger, best known as the frontman of the band Booker T. & the M.G.'s. He has also worked in the studios with many well-known artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, earning him a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

Steve Cropper American guitarist, songwriter and record producer

Steven Lee Cropper, also known as "Steve "The Colonel" Cropper", is an American guitarist, songwriter and record producer. He is the guitarist of the Stax Records house band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, which backed artists such as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas and Johnnie Taylor. He also acted as the producer of many of these records. He was later a member of the Blues Brothers band. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

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 .

<i>Spies Like Us</i> 1985 film by John Landis

Spies Like Us is a 1985 American comedy film directed by John Landis and starring Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Forrest, and Donna Dixon. The film presents the comic adventures of two novice intelligence agents sent to the Soviet Union. Originally written by Aykroyd and Dave Thomas to star Aykroyd and John Belushi at Universal, the script went into turnaround and was later picked up by Warner Bros. with Aykroyd and Chase starring.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Dan Aykroyd Canadian film actor

Daniel Edward Aykroyd, is a Canadian-American actor, producer, comedian, musician and filmmaker who was an original member of the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" on Saturday Night Live (1975–1979). A musical sketch he performed with John Belushi on SNL, the Blues Brothers, turned into an actual performing band and then the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

The song was covered by Dexys Midnight Runners as the B-side to their 1981 single "Plan B" and is on the compilation The Projected Passion Revue .

Dexys Midnight Runners band

Dexys Midnight Runners are an English pop band with soul influences, who achieved their major success in the early to mid-1980s. They are best known in the UK for their songs "Come On Eileen" and "Geno", both of which peaked at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, as well as six other top-20 singles. "Come On Eileen" also topped the US Billboard Hot 100, and with extensive airplay on MTV they are associated with the Second British Invasion.

The Projected Passion Revue is a compilation album by the group Dexys Midnight Runners, comprising recordings made in 1981, between the group's first album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels and its second, Too-Rye-Ay. The album represents a stage in the group's development which built upon the blue-eyed soul sound of the original line-up, but came before the group's adoption of a significant folk influence.

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References

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