Two by two, they go walking by Hand in hand, they watch me cry [Two by two, hand in hand] Lonely nights, I dream you're there Morning sun and you're gone [Lonely nights, morning sun] [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say Do anything you say, do anything One desire I ask of you Please be mine, please be mine [One desire, please be mine] Thousand years and I'll return You'll be mine, you'll be mine [Thousand years, you'll be mine] [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say Do anything you say, do anything Two by two they're walking by Hand in hand, they watch me cry [Two by two, hand in hand] [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say Do anything you say, do anything [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say [Maybe] I'll do anything you say Do anything you say, do anything you say
On 22 February 1966 Bowie and The Buzz demoed ‘Do Anything You Say’ at Regent Sound Studios. Two weeks later they recorded the single’s A-side together with ‘Good Morning Girl’ on 7 March 1966 at London’s Pye Studios. Each The Buzz band member was paid 10 pounds for the session (David assumably more than that). The session must have impressed Tony Hatch since he told them: “I’ve never heard you guys swing like that before.” Apparently, before David became a member of this band they had been playing “out-and-out jazz” according to drummer John Eager.
The song itself is well-done lyrically featuring David singing about a character crying about seeing other couples holding hands after his girlfriend left him alone. However, the slacky R&B rhythm accompanying the song does not do the lyrics justice. This uptempo soul-influenced call-and-response piece is quite forgettable and is one of the weaker songs Bowie released in 1966. The backing vocals are particularly bad. They sound bored and remind of David’s former band The Lower Third.
Perhaps the song does not work that well because Bowie never really excelled in the world of soul in his early days at least. Again here, The Who was probably a significant influence on ‘Do Anything You Say’, particularly the often mentioned hit ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’. Another song that influenced Bowie’s chords on that song was The Kinks’ ‘Tired Of Waiting For You’.
Shortly before the single was released on 1 April 1966 David Bowie together with band member John Eager and Ralph Horton went to the Target Club in the Co-op Memorial Hall, Paul’s Row, High Wycombe, Bucks, on 18 March to promote the new single ‘Do Anything You Say’. Along with singer David Ballantyne who was also promoting his new single ‘Love Around The World’ Bowie was interviewed by Earl Richmond for the Radio London ‘Big L’ act (of which no record still exists).
The single’s release on 1 April marks yet a milestone in David Bowie’s early career: this single was the first to credit him both as the only artist and songwriter. The final mixing of the single, however, was unsatisfying for The Buzz as they were unhappy about the sound (apparently Tony Hatch has put a dampener into the recording session). Just one day later Melody Maker would give this single a moderate review. Dusty Springfield, guest reviewer on that issue, said the following about the new single: “I haven’t got a clue who this is either, but I can see the effort that has gone into this record. It’s nice. The sound is a bit messy.”
The single was another commercial flop for Bowie and his new band. Though they performed it live on other shows and gigs, in particular the Bowie Showboat which would be created soon, the single just didn’t catch the record buying public. However, only two weeks after the release Bowie and The Buzz would make acquaintance with a person named Kenneth Pitt, a figure who would turn out to be quite influential in Bowie’s career for the late 1960s.
There exists a different mix of ‘Do Anything You Say’ on a 1999 reissue of I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles. The different mix features the same vocals accompanied by a less prominent piano. You can try to spot the differences on the link below:
‘Do Anything You Say’ – Alternate Mix (1966)
- Vinyl ‘Do Anything You Say’ (A-Side) / ‘Good Morning Girl’ (B-Side) 4/1966
- CD Early On (1964-1966) 1991
- Vinyl I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles 1999
- David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone)
- John Hutchinson (guitar)
- Derek Boyes (keyboard)
- Derek Fearnley (bass)
- John Eager (drums)
- Produced by Tony Hatch