Shoes are an especially intimate part of our lives. We wear them when we work, when we play, when learn and fight and fish. We wear shoes to play sports and to celebrate weddings. We wear them to dance and to create music, so it’s natural that shoes would pop up in the actual songs we write.
Here are seven great shoe songs, for your dancing pleasure.
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin” was an instant hit for Nancy Sinatra when it was released in 1966 and it remains the song she’s best known for. It hit #1 on both the US and UK pop charts and has been covered by everyone from The Supremes and Nick Cave to Megadeath, Boy George, and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Carl Perkins wrote “Blue Suede Shoes” in 1955 after he saw a couple dancing during a show. The boy was dancing with a beautiful girl who he warned not to “step on his suedes (his shoes)”. Perkins didn’t understand how a guy could value shoes over his beautiful girl and started writing the song. Elvis Presley made the song famous when he first played it in 1956 and it was chosen as by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
It doesn’t get more disco than “Boogie Shoes“, the hit song recorded by KC and the Sunshine Band in 1975. Two years after its release it appeared on the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack where it solidified its place as a disco mainstay.
“Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” came out in 1986 when Paul Simon released Graceland, an album that has been rated by Rolling Stone magazine as the 5th Greatest Album of the 80′s and #81 of all time. Like most of the album, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes was recorded in South Africa and featured local musicians Isaac Mtshiali on drums, Youssou N’Dour, Assane Thiam, and Babacar Faye on percussion, and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo male choral group.
In 1986 the hip-hop group Run DMC released their third album, Raising Hell, to great reception- it eventually went triple platinum and gave the world hits like “Walk This Way” and “It’s Tricky”. “My Adidas” was the third song off the album and helped the group land a $1.6 million endorsement deal with Adidas, the first such deal in hip-hop.
Bob Dylan released the album “The Times They Are A-Changin’” in 1964 which included the song “Boots of Spanish Leather” as the second song on the B-side. It’s a ballad about two lovers, told as a dialogue between a man and the woman who left him to travel overseas. Though Bob released it in 1964, he didn’t start playing it regularly in concert until 1988.
“Let’s Dance” is the title track off of David Bowie’s 1983 album Let’s Dance and the one that became one of his best selling tracks. It entered the UK pop charts at #5 and jumped to #1 two weeks later. It hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 soon after and sold over 500,000 copies in the UK alone in 1983.
What have I missed? What are your favorite shoe songs?
Photo Credit: Amy Elyse/Flickr