Anatomy of a dud single: a patchwork lyric of place-filler phrases; a monotonous one-line chorus that wears on the nerves because it’s repeated so damn much; a would-be soul groove that, after a mildly inspiring start, seems to just skip in place; and some woeful backing vocals (I mean, you’re cutting a rock & roll single, guys—give it some zing: you sound like a bunch of conscripts). Pronounced dead on arrival the moment it was released.
“Do Anything You Say” is one of Bowie’s last soul-influenced compositions and one of his most inconsequential releases—it’s notable only for marking the full stop to a style Bowie never mastered and finally abandoned. (Pye was one of the major Northern Soul labels, so perhaps the label wanted Bowie to try his hand at something more uptempo and dance-oriented.)
The backing band is Bowie’s latest collection—The Buzz, consisting of John Hutchinson (lead guitarist, who would become one of Bowie’s closest collaborators in the late ’60s), Derek Fearnley (b), John Eager (d) and Derek Bayes (organ). They sound pretty much interchangeable with the ill-fated Lower Third and a frustrated Tony Hatch would replace them with session players for Bowie’s next single.
Recorded 7 March 1966 and released as Pye 17079 on 1 April 1966 (Pye Singles).