Sandie's 60th birthday
Excerpts from “The World at My Feet” available from Sandie’s Boutique
Part Two: Losing My Step
Chapter: Barefoot Contest
My first recording session
“I borrowed money from my dad to come up to London for the recording session. Both Adam (Faith) and Eve (my manager) were in attendance. I had to wear these huge earphones on my head that mucked up my hairdo. I felt really silly. When I looked up I could see them all upstairs in the control room through the glass panel discussing my performance. Eve did not look at all happy. Suddenly her face changed; became animated. She made a remark to everyone, pointing at me as she jumped up and down with excitement.
I heard them all laughing and squealing down the talkback,’Your feet! Your feet!’ I looked down at my oversized pair of plates.
‘What’s the matter with them?’ I asked defensively.
‘You’ve got no shoes on!’
I apologised and began hunting round the studio for my slingbacks.
‘No. No. Keep them off. You may not look better, but you sing better that way!’ laughed Eve.
‘Suits me,’ I said, and kicked them off again. Three takes and the song was in the can. From then on, whenever I sang I was barefoot. Et voila! La chanteuse aux pieds nus; la cantante scalza; the barefoot contessa!
‘For hard-corn Sandie Shaw fanatics, here are the reasons why:
It is more comfortable – I could never find shoes to fit my size seven-and-a-half’s in Dagenham.
It is one less thing to think about when getting an outfit together.
I am extremely short-sighted and it helps me make my way around the stage without falling off the edge.
Its symbolic potency is immense.
It feels sexy.’
Over the years going Barefoot has become my trademark. I now feel that it is more of a mindset, a statement about my approach to life, an expression of inner and outer freedom. Many other lady singers have followed in my footsteps and paid homage to my penchant from Joss Stone, to K.D. Lang to Leona Lewis. And of course The Smiths performed barefoot with me on TV while I brandished stiletto heels in the air. I am honoured by their company. Ideally I would like everyone to join in. I often receive emails from offices saying they are having a Barefoot Day. Try it for yourself!