Battle of the Bands – Dancin’ Barefoot


It’s the middle of the month and that means another Battle of the Bands. Give a listen to both cover contenders and vote on which one you like best. I’ll post the results in 6 days! Today I’m featuring another Patti Smith song. Today though, she’s not one of the contenders. She didn’t fare very well in my last battle where she was a contender. But I do hope you’ll give her original a listen: it’s one of her best songs and it has been covered by many artists. The original song is called Dancin’ Barefoot from her album Wave.

Patti Smith – original:

“Dancing Barefoot” is a rock song written by Patti Smith and Ivan Kral, and released as a second single from the Patti Smith Group’s 1979 album Wave. According to the album sleeve, the song was dedicated to women such as Amedeo Modigliani’s mistress Jeanne Hébuterne.

In 1998, the song featured on the soundtrack of Whatever, a coming of age film by Liza Weil.

In 2000, a live version was released on the benefit album Broadcasts Vol. 8 from KGSR in Austin, Texas. (I used to do business with this station when I was a Media Planner/Buyer. It was a cool alternative station and very well received here in Austin).

In 2010, the song ranked #331 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

Give a listen to Patti’s version but don’t vote on it. This is presented for your enjoyment only.



U2 certainly doesn’t need an introduction. Dancin’ Barefoot was on the B-side to the “When Love Comes to Town” single. It was also on the compilation The Best of 1980–1990 and is featured on the soundtrack of the 1994 movie Threesome.



Don’t underestimate this lesser known band as they do a great version of Dancin’ Barefoot. For those who may not have heard of them before, The Feelies are an American rock band from Haledon, New Jersey. They formed in 1976 and disbanded in 1992 having released four albums. The band reunited in 2008, and most recently released an album in 2011.

The Feelies rarely worked with outside producers and created shimmering soundscapes with multiple guitar layers that set them apart from most of the punk/New Wave bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s. They frequently played at Maxwell’s, a live music venue and bar restaurant in Hoboken during the 1980s, often on national holidays.

Although the Feelies never sold a great number of records, their influence was felt on the indie rock scene. Their first album, Crazy Rhythms (Stiff Records, 1980) was cited by R.E.M. as a major influence. The Feelies were influenced by The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. Novelist Rick Moody has cited the band as one of his influences.

Here is their version of Dancin’ Barefoot, released in 1986:


TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:



28 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands – Dancin’ Barefoot

  1. Hi, Michele!

    “Dancing Barefoot” is indeed a great song and I can understand why you consider it one of Patti’s best. I never saw the coming of age film Whatever, set in the early 80s, but I am thoroughly enjoying Liza Weil in the role of the moody and mysterious Bonnie Winterbottom on the TV drama How To Get Away With Murder.

    In your battle you offer two worthy opponents. I hadn’t heard either of these covers before and I enjoyed both. I have a friend in Hoboken and will ask her if she knows about Maxwells and the indie rock band The Feelies. I was feelin’ The Feelies on this one, especially on the psyched out guitar solo. However, I didn’t care for the faster BMP rate used on their version. The BPM rate used on the U2 recording matches that of Patti’s original and for that reason alone their version comes across as more dramatic, more impactful, more powerful than that of The Feelies. The U2 recording also boasted better production quality with a denser wall of sound, more robust vocals and a superior wailing guitar part in the middle.

    Dark and dangerous, the U2 version gets my vote.

    Thank you, dear friend Michele!


  2. Hey Shady,
    Glad you liked both cover versions in my battle today. U2 is definitely dramatic. I’m a huge Bono fan but I’m still not sure which version I’ll be voting for.

    Re: How to Get Away With Murder: I can’t seem to get into that show. I watched it the first season but just find it hard to keep up with who’s who. I lost interest in it and never went into the 2nd season.

    Thanks for coming by to vote and give your reasonings. So appreciate you!


  3. This is a pretty neat song that I can’t recall ever hearing before. If no one had told me, I would have never guessed that the first version was by U2 as it doesn’t sound like them at all. The Feelies’ version is nice, but I prefer the version by U2 as it has a nicer musical texture with a greater depth of performance.

    Interesting that you bring up Rick Moody. A few years ago I read his memoir The Black Veil and found it to be a rather unique read. I reviewed it on my blog at

    Maybe a book that I should reread as it did leave an impact on me. Glad you reminded me of that book by mentioning the author’s name.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s your comment! Thanks. Another vote for U2. Thanks for mentioning the memoir that you reviewed. I’ll have to check it out.
      Thanks for coming by Lee — Twice. Sorry ’bout that. 🙂


  4. If I wanted to be “down” I’d go with U2. If I want more fluffy feelings, I’d have to go with Feelies. What do I want to feel today? Guess I’ll go with fluffy today. Have to say the original is only one I really like.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another great match-up, Michele! 🙂 I haven’t heard this song in ages. Definitely going with The Feelies. They have that psychedelic vibe I love so much and yes, reminiscent of The Velvet Underground. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Howdy, MICHELE ~
    I didn’t think I knew this song, but as I listened to the U2 version I realized that I’d heard that one before.

    Nevertheless, I’m voting for THE FEELIES. It has a good beat and you can dance to it. (Aside from that, I think U2 is probably the most boring band of all time.)

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Stephen,
      What??! You think U2 is the most boring band ever??? Wow, well, that’s definitive in your book. I love U2 and I’m a huge Bono fan. He’s such a giving philanthropist…
      Thanks for your vote for the Feelies…


  7. Hey girl,
    I like both of these. The Feelies has that alt 80s sound (so distinctive) and it takes me back to high school. Of course, U2 also takes me to the same place. Ha! When Love ComescTo Town is one of my favorite songs.
    While I enjoyed TF minimalistic approach I better liked the full sound U2 brought, so give U2 my vote on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that’s weird. Your comments never go to moderation. A good lesson for me because I often forget to check that! Thanks for stopping by again! 🙂


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