The Feelies version doesn't appear on any of their (too)-few albums, and remains fairly obscure. Still, I tracked it down before I found The Mission's version. There was initial disappointment at the immediate realization that it was the wrong song, but it's hard to resist its perfectly-executed, jangly rock-pop joys.
As lovely as The Feelies' version is, once you're on a song quest, nothing but that song will do.
The Mission U.K. (a.k.a. The Mission) version is more deadpan but by no means bloodless. It's only natural that the song should inspire as many covers as it has. The lyrics touch on universal feelings and are poetic and appealing.
I heard Patti Smith's song, the original, last, and oddly, it took time to grow on me, but I now love it.
A solo CD is on the way this year from The Feelies' Glenn Mercer.
The Mission U.K.'s next album, God Is A Bullet, is out in early April, and will be preceded in March by the first single "Keep It In The Family". The band has posted a YouTube preview of tracks from the album:
As of December 21st, another group that covered the song, Simple Minds, was in "serious negotiations" for an early 2007 "surprise return to live concerts in Australia and New Zealand".
Tomorrow, I'm seriously considering making a surprise return to blogging. (Don't tell; it's a surprise.)
Patti Smith just celebrated her birthday on December 30th.
The Mission U.K. - Dancing Barefoot (available on The First Chapter)
The Feelies - Dancing Barefoot (available on Un Printemps 89)
Simple Minds - Dancing Barefoot (available on Neon Lights)
Patti Smith - Dancing Barefoot (available on Land 1975-2002)