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January 7th, 2007

Song Of The Day @ 12:04 am

canadanne:
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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Comments

 
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From:ajamison
Date:January 7th, 2007 12:54 am (UTC)
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Thanks…very cool…I can't believe we haven't done this song before.

And this may be very bad, but I had no idea Patti Smith was the original songwriter!

I love the U2 version so much!
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From:lastrega
Date:January 7th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
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I do love this song. It'd have to be one of the top ten B-sides ever, as far as I'm concerned.

Now there's one we haven't done here (that I've seen)-- Top Ten B-sides!
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From:canadanne
Date:January 7th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)

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Hmmmmm! That'd be an interesting challenge. I think it'd be difficult, as I love so many U2 B-sides, but probably not as difficult as Top Ten Songs as there'd obviously be less to choose from! Would you allow *anything* that had appeared as a B-side, or make it easier by ruling out things like remixes and/or live tracks? (You should totally start that discussion!)
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From:lastrega
Date:January 7th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
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Yeah, it sounds like fun. I think it'd be hard to exclude remixes and live tracks because some of them really are better than the original releases.

I really wish I didn't have to go to work shortly. Who works Sundays anyway? Crazy people.
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From:shardofnarsil
Date:January 7th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
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Oh, I adore that song. Those were the good ol' days, when U2 did all kinds of B-side covers. *sigh* But yes, that's one of my faves. I love Edge's ear piercing solo, as well.
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From:canadanne
Date:January 7th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)

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I know, I wish all the singles still came with good B-sides. :/
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From:conner
Date:January 7th, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
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This cover remains one of my faves of U2 covers. I prefer this version to Patti's original as well, although I love Patti's version too and have heard her play it a couple times live which is always awesome.

This song was released in late 88/early 89 as my Mom was diagnosed and dying of lung cancer, so it still stops me in my tracks and takes me back to that. It's not all sad, but it is very powerful and Bono's vocals are amazing.
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From:trinimacphisto
Date:January 7th, 2007 07:34 am (UTC)
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Both versions of the song are awesome, I think Patti's sounds more spiritual than U2's though... But spiritual in a naughty way... When I first listened to her version I thought right away about the whole thing about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, I didn't think about that when I listened to the U2 version, and that was the first I listened to. I think that's mostly because Patti says "Oh God I fell for you" and U2's says "Oh God I feel for you", and of course the verses in the end of Patti's.
I think U2's version would've been much cooler if it had the verses in the end. But in the end both are awesome, and I loooove Bono's voice in this song, and the guitar rocks, it's very grungy, like you said it said on the book
From:striped_bouncer
Date:January 7th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)
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Aaaw, good choice. I abolutely love this song. whenever I hear it, it lifts my spirit.... and it's so... Bonolicious ;-)
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From:beowulfjones
Date:January 7th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
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I'm another one who heard the cover before the original and didn't realize (until further inspection) that it wasn't even a U2 tune!

Also had the chance to see Patti Smith perform this live -- while opening for U2, no less! (Madison Square Garden, November 22, 2005)

Would it be possible for someone to upload the U2 version, though? Maybe to the U2LJ gmail account? It's just that I'm rummaging through piles of CDs, telling myself I really, REALLY ought to put everything back in the right places, and finding the second Best of 1980-1990 disc nowhere, nuh-uh, no way!
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From:canadanne
Date:January 7th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
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Oh that's cool, I didn't know she had played this song during a U2 support slot!  I bet that went down well. :)

The Gmail account is long since dead, I'm afraid, so we're stuck with YSI or whatever now. I'd have to rip it from the CD, so if anyone already has the song on their hard drive and could save me the trouble, that'd be much appreciated!
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From:beowulfjones
Date:January 8th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
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The gmail account's deceased?? Ah well. So it goes.

Yeah, Patti Smith (and especially that song) was a blast! A nice little nod for fans in the know.
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From:treatyoself
Date:January 8th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
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Oh man, I love this song SO MUCH. Here you go!

http://www.yousendit.com/download/2Vc4p5mgwLh5TA%3D%3D
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From:beowulfjones
Date:January 8th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
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Hey, thanks! Sharing is caring, not to mention spiffy.
*a-downloading now*
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From:beowulfjones
Date:January 8th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
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Er.. actually, I seem to be having a bit of trouble downloading. I'll try it again in a bit (could just be me!).
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From:hawkmoon268
Date:January 9th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
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Let me know if you can't get it to work and I'll upload it when I get home tonight.
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From:__claude__
Date:January 9th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
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how come this song wasn't on my version of Best of 1980-1990?!
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From:rockingthemike
Date:January 9th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
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The Best Ofs were released in two different editions: standard one disc, and limited edition two disc. For the limited editions, the second discs featured b-sides, remixes and rarities.

Although designated "limited edition", the two disc edition is still widely available.

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