Annie (canadanne) wrote in u2,
Annie
canadanne
u2

Song Of The Day

Remember that file marked "How in the holy hell have we never discussed this one before?"

Dancing Barefoot

Come on, what do you think of this?  It's on The Best Of 1980-1990, having first appeared as a B-side to When Love Comes To Town. Written by influential singer and poet Patti Smith, the original version featured on her 1979 album "Wave". Hardcore Patti fans don't seem to approve of this cover, but as a hardcore U2 fan, I love it. :p


I *think* this is the first cover that U2 ever released as a B-side (correct me if I'm wrong). There's a little bit in the Into The Heart book about how they decided to start including covers on the singles so that they wouldn't feel pressured into releasing several original tracks that maybe weren't up to scratch. Apparently it was The Edge's choice to record Dancing Barefoot, and as the book describes: "they played it fairly straight and grungy, in an unaffected tribute to a woman whose stream-of-consciousness poetry and intense, cathartic rock 'n' roll had been a huge influence on the band during the late '70s."

I found some background info that Patti had written about the song (funnily enough in a website feature called "Song of the Week"!):

"I had the concept to write a lyric line that would have several levels - the love of one human being for another and the love of one's creator. So in a sense, the song addresses both physical and spiritual love.* Truthfully I always imagined Jim Morrison singing it, which resulted in me singing and recording it in a lower vocal register. I wanted the verse to have a masculine appeal and the chorus to have a feminine one."

* Why does this sound familiar...? ;)  No wonder Bono liked it!

It's interesting to learn that she actually wrote the song with a male vocalist in mind, because I always thought it was kind of odd (in a fun way) to hear Bono singing these lyrics that seemed to come from a female perspective - it threw this whole sexual ambiguity into the equation. Like all the best U2 songs, you can read this one a bunch of different ways. And as with some of their own material, there's some clever wordplay alluding to drug use in amongst those romantic lyrics. (Says Patti: "In 1979 it was considered too provocative for American radio. The use of the word "heroine", which of course is used in the context of the song as the feminine of HERO, was objected to. It was suggested that I change the word "heroine" and consult the thesaurus for a suitable replacement. I am happy with my decision to let it stand as written.")

I hadn't heard the original until I went looking for it on YouTube and found it here. U2's rendition seems pretty faithful to it - the lyrics vary slightly here and there, but musically they're quite similar. Patti's verses are perhaps a touch more sultry than Bono's (I love the way she pronounces "She-eeyy"!), but I like U2's percussion better, and they have the edge - pun totally intended - when it comes to the guitar as well. ;)  My favourite moment in the U2 version has always been "Here I go and I don't know why / I spin so ceaselessly / 'Til I lose my sense of gravity...", and I think Bono manages to pull off that fabulous line a lot more effectively than Patti did. I also particularly like the bit where the drums come in after the first verse, and the "Oh god I feel for you" outro. It's such a fun song all round. :)


LYRICS

She is benediction
She is addicted to he
She is the root connection
And she is connecting with me

Here I go and I don't know why
I spin so ceaselessly
Could it be he's taking over me

I'm dancing barefoot
Headed for a spin
Some strange music drags me in
Makes me come up like some heroine

She is sublimation
She is the essence of thee
She is concentrating
On he who is chosen by she

Here I go and I don't know why
I spin so ceaselessly
Could it be he's taking over me

I'm dancing barefoot
Headed for a spin
Some strange music drags me in
Makes me come on like some heroine

She is recreation
She, intoxicated by thee
She has the slow sensation
That he is levitating with she

Here I go and I don't know why
I spin so ceaselessly
'Til I lose my sense of gravity

I'm dancing barefoot
Headed for a spin
Some strange music drives me on
Makes me come in like some heroine

Oh god I feel for you
Oh god I feel for you
Oh god I feel for you
Oh god I feel for you...



Apparently Bono presented Patti Smith with an Inspiration Award at the 1997 Q Awards, admitting in his speech that he "wanted her to take me to bed". Her response to that was "Fuck you, Bono." :D
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