Dancing Barefoot
Dancing Barefoot

Dancing Barefoot

The Patti Smith Story
By Dave Thompson


320 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Cloth, $24.95 (US $24.95) (CA $27.95)

ISBN 9781569763254

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Aug 2011)


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The life of the punk legend
Dancing Barefoot is the full and true story of Patti Smith, widely acknowledged as one of the most significant American artists of the rock ’n’ roll era, a performer whose audience and appeal reach far beyond the parameters of rock. An acclaimed poet, a respected artist, and a figurehead for many liberal political causes, Patti Smith soared from an ugly-duckling childhood in postwar New Jersey to become queen of the New York arts scene in the 1970s. This book traces the brilliant trajectory of her career, including the fifteen reclusive years she spent in Detroit in the 1980s and ’90s, as well as her triumphant return to New York. But it is primarily the story of a performer growing up in New York City in the early and mid-1970s.Dancing Barefoot is a measured, accurate, and enthusiastic account of Smith’s career. Guided by interviews with those who have known her—including Ivan Kral, Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd, John Cale, and Jim Carroll—it relies most of all on Patti’s own words. This is Patti’s story, told as she might have seen it, had she been on the outside looking in.


“Dave Thompson knows how to tell a gripping, carefully researched story. This one is about a young woman from the swamps of New Jersey who became an artist’s muse, then a rock star, then a wife and mother, then an award-winning author, and—most importantly—one of the major American poetic champions of her generation.” —Stephen Davis, author of Hammer of the Gods and Walk This Way

“Dave Thompson made me love and understand Patti more than any other writer ever did, including Patti herself. But then again, he did it by using mostly her own words. Brilliant!” —Cherry Vanilla, author of Lick Me

“Dave Thompson expertly captures the mood and magic of the period—there were moments when I felt as though I were reliving a part of my life, not simply reading a book about it.” —Ivan Kral, Patti Smith Group

"From raucous and indelible performances to her retreat to raise a family in Detroit to crushing tragedies to her glorious resurgence, Thompson reveals Smith's profound impulse to celebrate, memorialize, and inspire others. More comprehensive portraits will owe a debt to Thompson's blueprint biography."—Booklist

"Thompson's vivid re-creation of the music scene in New York City in the 1970s captures an exhilarating moment in music history."—Publishers Weekly

"[Dancing Barefoot] must be on the shelf of every serious Patti Smith fan, indeed anyone fascinated with classic '70s rock."—PopMatters.com

"[The book] bring[s] a deeper insight to the artist’s motivations and a great deal of much-needed perspective on the era in which she blossomed...Dancing Barefoot will broaden the understanding of even the most ardent Patti Smith fans.”—Glide Magazine

"Between Thompson's descriptive storytelling and interview snippers (dating from the late '60s to present) with peers, members of the Patti Smith Group and Smith herself, her story emerges both vivid and real"—American Songwriter Magazine

Author Biography

Dave Thompson is a rock journalist who has contributed to Alternative Press, Mojo, Q, Record Collector, Rolling Stone, and Spin. He is the author of numerous music biographies of artists such as David Bowie, Cream, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U2, as well as the bestselling Kurt Cobain biography, Never Fade Away, and the story of 1970s punk, London's Burning. He lives in Newark, Delaware.