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Fingerprince started out as Tourniquet of Roses, which was to be the world's first three-sided album. This idea was abandoned due to impracticality.

In the end, the band put only two-thirds of the music on the album and put the rest on an EP called Babyfingers which was then several years later once again merged into Fingerprince.

Fingerprince and Babyfingers have similar structures: each has one side of short songs with a single longer work on the second side. Walter Westinghouse, on the EP, is a sort of mini-opera, while Six Things to a Cycle on Fingerprince was originally written as a ballet. The piece is similar to an early conceptual piece of improvisational orchestra called Number One. The Residents created a work about how "man, represented by a primitive humanoid, is consumed by his self-created environment only to be replaced by a new creature, still primitive, still faulty, but destined to rule the world just as poorly" for Maurice Bejart, who used music by The Residents for a dance piece performed on a barge moving down the canals of Venice. The Residents created a shortened version of the ballet for this album and performed an even shorter live rendition at a concert called Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! Can't You See That It's True; What the Beatles Did to Me, "I Love Lucy" Did to You presented as part of the 5th Anniversary celebrations for Rather Ripped Records in June, 1976.

The piece draws on many influences: Indonesian Gamelan (percussion) music, the Minimalist Movement (Philip Glass, Steve Reich, etc.), and most of all, Harry Partch. Partch was an American composer who was known for inventing his own instruments, music theory, and languages. The Residents indulged in similar experiments, using invented languages not only in Six Things, but also later on Eskimo and The Big Bubble. The Residents later acknowledge Partch's influence with the song Death in Barstow, on Babyfingers, a reference to Partch's death in Barstow, California, in September, 1976.
EuroRalph has also released a CD version of Fingerprince. It consists of two CDs, one full-length, one with the original album contents, and the other a 3" CD single of Babyfingers as a salute to the original structure.


The Resident's fourth album project, Tourniquet of Roses, was to be a three-sided album. Unfortunately, the band couldn't figure out how to accomplish this, and so broke the work down into a album, Fingerprince, and this single.

The 1979 edition was 35-40 copies with no artwork. About 10 of these were later hand decorated in 8 colours with felt tip pens, packaged in modified Santa Dog '78 sleeves and sent to people who had been waiting more than 2 years for their Third Reich 'N' Roll Collectors Box. The 1981 edition released the The Residents Fan Club WEIRD (We Endorse Immediate Residents Deification) was a limited run of 1500 copies in black and pink cardboard covers. The 1985 Ralph Records re-release was a limited edition of 250 copies on Pink vinyl and clear plastic sleeves