The London Boys


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Lyrics

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Filed under 1966: Bowie & The Buzz, 2000: Toy Sessions

Rubber Band


rubber band

‘Rubber Band’ – Single Version (1966)

Lyric

Rubber Band
There's a rubber band that plays tunes out of tune
In the library garden Sunday afternoon
While a little chappie waves a golden wand

Rubber Band
In 1910 I was so handsome and so strong
My moustache was stiffly waxed and one foot long
And I loved a girl while you played teatime tunes

Dear Rubber Band, you're playing my tune out of tune, oh

Rubber Band 
Won't you play a haunting theme again to me
While I eat my scones and drink my cup of tea
The sun is warm but it's a lonely afternoon

Oh, play that theme

Rubber Band 
How I wish that I could join your Rubber Band
We could play in lively parks throughout the land
And one Sunday afternoon, I'd find my love

Rubber Band, 
In the '14-'18 war I went to sea
Thought my Sunday love was waiting home for me
And now she's married to the leader of the band, oh

(spoken)
Oh sob... I hope you break your baton

Rubber Band Cover

We are now officially entering into Bowie’s Newley-influenced period which lasted until 1968 – long after the release of his debut album David Bowie. The release of his fourth single ‘Rubber Band’ on 2nd December 1966 significantly marks his departure from the Mod scene and forebodes his fascination with vaudevillian theatre themes.

David Bowie’s transition from a Mod to a Newley-esque singer in late 1966 can be explained by the lack of a breakthrough. His preceding Pye singles had all flopped commercially which lead to a termination of his contract with Pye Records shortly after the release of ‘I Dig Everything’. In mid-1966 Bowie was a singer who had been in a handful of bands, with a couple of singles out, but without a real breakthrough – and above all, without a contract. On the positive side, Kenneth Pitt* who had carefully overseen his career that year now got more engaged in pushing Bowie’s career in the right direction. And indeed, Pitt enabled Bowie to have a good shot with the Deram label for which Bowie would soon record his debut album.

By October that year, Bowie was still touring with The Buzz performing most of his songs. He and fellow Buzz bassist Dek Fearnley had envisioned to re-record some of his older songs such as ‘The London Boys’ (a Mod song from way earlier in 1965), and so Pitt enabled them to record a couple of songs on 18th October to approach new record labels. The idea behind this recording was to have enough songs to release an EP with that new label. On that day Bowie and The Buzz (plus trumpeter Chick Norton) recorded two new songs at R.G. Jones’ Oak Studio: ‘Rubber Band’ and ‘The Gravedigger’ (which would later become ‘Please Mr. Gravedigger’, the closing track on 1967′s David Bowie LP). Furthermore, they re-recorded ‘The London Boys’. As was the case with the recording of ‘I Dig Everything’, it also became quite apparent that Bowie and The Buzz were quite inexperienced in terms of a professional arrangement for the recording.** Fortunately, it worked out this time. Fearnley recalled in 1991: “We’d worked out what kind of sound we wanted and had painstakingly written out the notation, but all the timings were wrong. Luckily the musicians interpreted what we had written, and we got through it.”

The recording was a full success, especially because it was well-received when Pitt visited the Decca label on 20th October. Indeed, both head of promotion Tony Hall and album artist manager Hugh Mendl were quite fond of ‘Rubber Band’ when Pitt played the acetate to them. Only four days later, Pitt managed to secure the first album deal for David Bowie when he further met Decca’s in-house producer Mike Vernon. On 27th October it was then decided that both ‘Rubber Band’ and ‘The London Boys’ were strong enough tapes to be released as the first single with the new label.*** Bowie received GBP 100 and GBP 150 for the master tapes of these two songs.

RB_Press

As the official press release above reads, ‘Rubber Band’ was a “love story without a happy ending, it is pathos set to tubas”. Indeed the song reveals quite an extraordinary amount of lyrical and melodic drama. The song features a First World War veteran who misses his pre-wartime girlfriend (who unfortunately is now married to the leader of a brass band). The theatricality, the imagery and the humour is present everywhere in this song: the pun on the term rubber band, the waxed moustache, the Britishness in eating scones and drinking tea, that girlish scream at the end of the song. ‘Rubber Band’ together with further album tracks from 1967′s David Bowie such as ‘Little Bombardier’ and ‘She’s Got Medals’ evoke the brass-buttoned militarism of the Edwardian era, a style that was quite en vogue in 1966/67. Bowie’s military jacket on the cover of his debut album surely add to this effect.

It is furthermore notable to mention that the musical arrangement for ‘Rubber Band’ (and for most of the songs recorded for his debut album) was quite intricate for a musician who mostly wrote rock and blues songs before. ‘Rubber Band’ is very playful with the tempo and instruments: at the end of song the tuba comes to dramatical halt and it appears as if an overly exhausted band is required to stop playing. Just judged by its playfulness the song must be concidered a musical breakthrough for Bowie in 1966. In fact however, ‘Rubber Band’ did not bode very well with the buying audience and did indeed piss off some of his acquaintances in the London Mod scene.

Bowie the Mod was gone, enter Bowie the Newley-impersonator.

rubber band 3

Once the single was released on 2nd December 1966**** under Decca’s Deram label, Hugh Mendl became quite worried about the decision to grant Bowie an album deal. Mendl remembered in 2002: “It all went wrong for David at the first Decca A&R meeting. I was personally very excited about David’s first single, but when it was played at Geniusville*****, someone said, ‘Sounds like Tony Newley to me’. From the start, that sealed David’s fate at Decca.” So, ‘Rubber Band’ didn’t perform well at all commercially, and additionally radio stations were not too keen on playing the song “because it’s not commercial and too ‘in’ “, as Horton wrote to Pitt in a letter dated 8th December.

Despite the disappointing commercial performance of ‘Rubber Band’, the magazine Disc gave the single an encouraging review: “I do not think ‘Rubber Band’ is a hit. What it is is an example of how David Bowie has progressed himself into being a name to reckon with, certainly as far as songwriting is concerned. He is not the David Bowie we once knew. Even a different voice – distinctly reminiscent of a young Tony Newley – has emerged. Listen to this record then turn it over and listen to ‘The London Boys’, which actually I think would have been a much more impressive topside. But both are worth rethinking about.”

rubber band 2

Although the single flopped considerably Bowie decided to re-recorded ‘Rubber Band’ on 25th February 1967 at Decca’s Studio 2 for the inclusion on his debut album. The album version of ‘Rubber Band’ is a tad slower and perhaps a bit inferior to the single version. Furthermore, the album version differs to the single version in that there are two differences in the lyrics. For no apparent reason, Bowie replaced the year ‘1912‘ by ‘1910‘ and also added a spoken line at the end of the song: “I hope you break your baton“. Listen to the album version via the following link:

‘Rubber Band’ – Album Version, David Bowie LP (1967)

Two years later by 3rd February 1969 Bowie, who hadn’t really advanced much in his musical career after his first album, was filming for a promotional film containing a couple of songs from the album as well as a handful of new songs (such as ‘Space Oddity’). The promotional film, entitled Love You Till Tuesday, also included his recorded performance for ‘Rubber Band’. As you can see in the video below, Bowie played a mustachioed geezer in blazer and boat hat watching an imaginary brass band and whimsically singing the album version of this song. Truly a gem.

‘Rubber Band’ – Love You Till Tuesday Video (1969)

On a personal note, I must say I have always liked this song very much. It’s certainly not his best, but I like the strangeness of it, and the imagery. What a bold move that change from Mod to Newley was.

* Pitt had a huge knowledge about musical theatre, so maybe that is where a lot of the influence on Bowie’s interest in theatricality came from.

** That was actually the reason why The Buzz was completely replaced by some other session musicians during the recording of ‘I Dig Everything’.

*** Ken Pitt also worked on releasing the single in the US. On 10th November 1966 he met Walt Maguire in New York who worked for Decca’s US label London Records. Maguire also liked ‘Rubber Band’ and agreed to release the single but, interestingly, dropped ‘The London Boys’ as B-Side because of the reference to pill-popping and drug taking. Instead he chose Bowie’s new recorded song ‘There Is A Happy Land’ as B-Side. It needs to be added though that ‘Rubber Band’ was never commercially released in the US, but rather sent to radio stations as promotional only release in June 1967. One month after the single’s release in the US Maguire wrote to Pitt expressing his disappointment: “I’m not happy with the results.”

**** Literally on that same day Bowie and his band The Buzz, with which he had still recorded quite a handful of songs for his debut album, parted ways. However, some band members stayed with David and recorded a couple more songs (namely Dek Fearnley).

***** Geniusville: a term coined by Mendl for the weekly Decca meetings of the company executives to listen to the latest recordings.

——

Discography

Single Version:

  • Vinyl Rubber Band (A-Side) / The London Boys (B-Side) 12/1966
  • CD The Deram Anthology: 1966-1968 1997

Album Version:

  • Vinyl David Bowie Album 6/1967
  • CD David Bowie – Deluxe Edition Album 2010

Video:

  • Promo Love You Till Tuesday 1969
  • DVD Love You Till Tuesday 2005

——

Musicians

  • David Bowie (vocal, guitar, saxophone)
  • Dek Fearnley (bass)
  • John Eager (drums)
  • Derek Boyes (organ)
  • Chick Norton (trumpet)
  • Produced by David Bowie & Dek Fearnley
  • Arranged by Dek Fearnley & David Bowie

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Filed under 1966: Bowie & The Buzz, 1967: David Bowie LP

I’m Not Losing Sleep


David+Bowie+Bowie

‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ – Single Version (1966)

Lyrics

Yes, I've read the morning papers
Telling me that you've made money
Do you think I'm gonna crawl, then think again

Though I'm dressed in rags, I'm richer
Though I eat from tins, I'm healthier
Though I live in slums, I'm purer than you, my friend

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Look around and see the friends
The ones you left, our friends deserted
See the guys that used to talk and drink with you

Don't look down your nose at me
'Cause I won't ask your sympathy
I won't be your yes-sir man for anything

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

I would walk with you
Talk with you, drink with you
If you drop that halo that you're wearing on the ground

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

I can get my satisfaction
Knowing you won't get reaction
What makes me the big attraction anyway

It's too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Oh, it's too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Big_B

The B-Side to 1966′s ‘I Dig Everything’ welcomes Anthony Newley’s influence to Bowie’s vocal style – a style which would feature in a major way on his first album David Bowie. Bowie and Tony Hatch recorded this song on 5th July 1966 with an ensemble of unknown musicians (they weren’t documented for the recording) – excluding Bowie’s actual, but slightly inexperienced band in terms of musical arrangements, The Buzz.

Though ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ cannot be classified as a pure vaudeville-type Newley song, Bowie did try out the showman’s vocal swagger in some parts of this song. But there’s a bit more to this unfairly judged B-Side.

First of all, the song features someone who is totally content in his current socioeconomic status. He basically sings about a friend leaving his poorer background because he started making money and now hangs out with the richer class. But Bowie seems to be quite fond of the fact that he is where he is instead of his friend who makes money. He even gives a little nod to The Rolling Stones, turning their one-year old hit a bit around: “I can get my satisfaction / knowing you won’t get reaction”. So there’s a man who appears to be all satisfied that he is poor.

Furthermore, ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ is slightly remiscent of Petula Clark’s hit ‘Downtown’: the ‘too bad’* backing chorus sounds very similar. However, Bowie structured the song much in the Motown tradition using a recurrent shift between the tonic and the minor 2nd chords which portrays ambition. Considering that Bowie partly used the Newley voice (pay attention to the songs ‘middle eight’ section when he sings “on the ground”) it can be said that ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ can be described as a song where once again Bowie tried out a lot of musical influences.

Contrary to many other Bowie biographers and writers I find ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ to be a good song that is up to the standard of the scene back in the day.

zHiZ5

* Funnily, Bowie’s early publisher Sparta released ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ under the title ‘Too Bad’.

——

Discography

Single Version:

  • Vinyl I Dig Everything (A-Side) / I’m Not Losing Sleep (B-Side) 8/1966
  • CD Early On (1964-1966) 1991
  • Vinyl I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles EP 1999

——

Musicians

  • David Bowie (vocal)
  • Session musicans unknown
  • Produced by Tony Hatch

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Filed under 1966: Bowie & The Buzz

I Dig Everything


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‘I Dig Everything’ – Single Version (1966)

Lyrics

I've got the village I love
I walk along beside the garbagemen and I dig everything
I wave to the policemen, but they don't wave back
They don't dig anything
Ain't had a job for a year or more and I don't know a thing
Everything's spent and I dig everything
Everything's spent and I dig everything
Dig

I feed the lions in Trafalgar Square and I dig everything
I've sit just behind my window, till my cigarettes were low and dug
everything
Got a backstreet room in the bad part of town and I dig everything
I'd see people in the street below, who don't know where they're going
They don't dig anything
Everything's spent and I dig everything
Everything's spent and I dig everything
Dig

I've got more friends than I've had had dinners
Some of them were losers, but the rest of them are winners
Rick, John, Sally, a connection named Paul
Holy low on money, their intentions are tall
We smoke and talk in my room and we dig everything
Dig

I've made myself at home
I've made good friends which the time-check girl on the end of the phone
All the movie shows
I sunbathe for love
Even when it's not too hot
'Cause I dig everything
Oh yeah

Big_A

‘I Dig Everything’, recorded on 5th July 1966 and released on 19th August 1966, was Bowie’s third and last single under the Pye label, backed by ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ as the B-Side.

Tony Hatch, producer of the previous two singles, had booked quite a number of gigs for Bowie and his band The Buzz throughout the spring of 1966. However, after ‘Do Anything You Say’ had flopped it was time for the band to get their act together and release another single to increase their popularity. According to Cann’s Any Day Now, Bowie and The Buzz already tried to record ‘I Dig Everything’ on 6th June at Pye Studios, Marble Arch, including a brass section with Moods trumpeter Andy Kirk. Also part of the arrangement on that day were Dusty Springfield’s backing singers Madeline Bell, Kiki Dee and Lesley Duncan. But the problem with this recording session was that the arrangement with the new brass section and backing singers had not rehearsed that song before – and Tony Hatch was not convinced that this recording would make for a good single.*

5th July, the day of the proper recording of ‘I Dig Everything’ and ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’, was preceded by a radical change in the band structure of The Buzz: on 15th June the band’s guitarist John Hutchinson had to quit his membership in the band due to the lack a regular financial income. Hutchinson would work with Bowie again, and then more substantially, in late 1967 – but we’ll come to that later. Hutchinson’s departure worsenend not only the atmosphere in the band**, but might have also led to Tony Hatch’s decision to exclude the entire band from recording the new single with Bowie. For the recording, Hatch had booked a couple of session musicians instead of The Buzz. Unfortunately, these musicians are unknown today, they were not documented. Hatch recalled in 1990:

I couldn’t tell you for certain who played on the re-recording but in those days, for ‘rock’ sessions, I always hired great musicians like Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, Jim Sullivan, Herbie Flowers, Clem Cattini, Tony from Sounds Incorporated, Roger Coulam and Alan Hawkshaw, the ‘hooligans’ of their time. Come to think of it – most of these people also featured on the Petula Clark sessions too.

So, the recording session was successful and ‘I Dig Everything’ was scheduled to be released a month later. In the meantime however, Kenneth Pitt (who had overseen David’s development for quite a while now) sent an advance copy to Vicky Wickhamd, the driving force behind Ready Steady Go!, on 18th July, but received the copy back shortly thereafter with a short comment reading: “Very many thanks for the David Bowie disc. I am sorry, but yet again I really do not think it is a hit. One day I am going to surprise you!”

The single itself was yet another flop in a series of flops David Bowie had witnessed already in his musical career until then. ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’, released earlier in 1966, had perhaps come closest to a chart success (though it can be argued that the charting method was quite biased). Upon its release, the single was met relatively positive: “Another disc that’s perfect for dancing” (NME); David “wrote it himself and sings it, with his voice moving very well against the backing” (Disc & Music Echo).

Though The Buzz were not part of the actual recording of the single, they nonetheless continued to perform live with David Bowie in the coming months and played the new single among other songs***. According to the Kent Messenger, Bowie and his band used a “completely new act” on 26th August by using pre-recorded tapes in their live sets. For this new act they have supposedly rehearsed 8 hours per day. According to Cann, the performance was a disaster due to synchronisation problems between the tape and the songs sung live.  The chart failure that ‘I Dig Everything’ was finally led to Pye’s decision to part ways with David Bowie, and hence his contract ended in September that year.

Ironically, from today’s point of view ‘I Dig Everything’ together with ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ can easily be called one of the best tracks Bowie had released until then. The song features a very playful side of the young mod Bowie that he presumably still was. While the song starts of with a dominant Hammond organ it later on develops into a memorisable tune using a Latin-flavoured percussion that gives the song a nice rounding.

db3

Lyrically, the song can be aligned with ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’, ‘The London Boys’ and ‘Join The Gang’ as a story of a young teenager in London leaving his family and old life behind. These songs resemble Bowie’s mod associations. In contrast to ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ the new single features a teenager not leaving but rather having arrived (notably in London as the lyrics suggest), a teenager who is delighted by everything and everyone that he sees: garbagemen, policemen, a bad room, not having had a job for years, his new friend circle. And so on. The song also hints at drug circulating among him and his friends (the “connection”).

This is a song that captures the spirit of Swinging London in 60s: groups of young teenagers hanging out together that do not follow the ordinary and responsible lifestyle as perhaps their parents did. The character in the song is described as a loser without a job and any money, but a sympathetic one. He finds pleasure in everything he sees, interestingly in the most normal things.

Later performances

‘I Dig Everything’ was not performed anymore in the subsequent decades. Until the late 90s and early 00s when he began to revisit his old song material for some sporadic live performances and the Toy sessions (the album that never was) in 2000. ‘I Dig Everything’ was among those songs that Bowie picked. The song as performed in his summer 2000 concerts can be heard through the link below:

‘I Dig Everything’ – Audience recording (2000)

The Toy album version (as leaked onto the internet in 2011) can be heard here:

‘I Dig Everything’ – Toy Sessions, unreleased (2000)

* Dek Fearnley, bassist for The Buzz, recalled: “The arrangement wasn’t up to it. The horn section were OK at playing soul music, but not what we wanted.”

** In fact, in the weeks after Hutchinson left the band they were forced to give a couple of gigs without a lead guitarist as they simply couldn’t find a suitable replacement on time. John Hutchinson would finally be replaced by former Anteeks guitarist Billy Gray (a more exuberant nature on stage).

*** Interestingly, among those other songs were ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, nowadays a well-known football anthem. Keep in mind that in the summer of 1966 England had won the World Cup beating West Germany at Wembley.

——

Discography

Single Version:

  • Vinyl I Dig Everything (A-Side) / I’m Not Losing Sleep (B-Side) 8/1966
  • CD Early On (1964-1966) 1991
  • Vinyl I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles EP 1999

Extended Version:

  • Toy Sessions unreleased

——

Musicians

  • David Bowie (vocal)
  • Session musicians unknown
  • Produced by Tony Hatch

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Filed under 1966: Bowie & The Buzz, 2000: Toy Sessions

Good Morning Girl


tumblr_l89e18CCdy1qc7qvfo1_250

‘Good Morning Girl’ – Single Version (1966)

Lyrics

Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
But I can't pass this time of day

'Cause I'm on my way to rest my head
And I've lost the mind that I used to have
And I don't have a dime to spare

Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
But I can't pass this time of day

So go tell the man that collects the dues
That you saw a guy without any shoes
Who would do the job if he was built that way

Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
But I can't pass this time of day, no
I can't pass this time of day

'Cause I'm on my way to rest my head
And I've lost the mind that I used to have
I don't have a dime to spare

Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
But I can't pass this time of day

So go tell the man that collects the dues
That you saw a guy without any shoes
Who would do the job if he was built that way

Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
Hey, hey, good morning girl
But I can't pass this time of day, no
I can't pass this time of day

B_Side_Big

Together with his new band The Buzz David Bowie recorded ‘Good Morning Girl’ on 7 March 1966 as the B-side to his new single ‘Do Anything You Say’. Bowie’s second Pye Records single was released on 1 April that year.

The song’s title is a reference to The Yardbirds’ version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ which was also covered later by no other than Rod Stewart. Except for the title these two songs bear no real resemblance. In contrast to the rather messy ‘Do Anything You Say’ the single’s B-side is heavily influenced by jazzy melodic changes such as the switching between the first and the fourth chords. Peter Doggett, author of the book The Man who sold the World, suggests that thus the song was rather tailored towards the “cooler end” of London’s mod club scene.

‘Good Morning Girl’ had better been chosen as the single’s A-side instead of ‘Do Anything You Say’ as it is much stronger musically. Bowie even provides a superb vocal performance with some really acing scat vocals when it comes to the recurring guitar solo part of the song. However, ‘Good Morning Girl’ marked an end to Bowie’s explorations of jazz for the foreseeable future. There were only a handful of instances over the following decades of his career in which David Bowie would return to endorse jazzy tunes. The next time he would produce a full jazz-influenced album would be 1993′s Black Tie White Noise.

Tied together with ‘Do Anything You Say’ the single was yet another commercial failure for Bowie and The Buzz as the single failed to chart upon its release on 1 April 1966. Despite that ‘Good Morning Girl’ remained part of further live performances by Bowie and his band throughout the year.

——

Discography

Single Version:

  • 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

——

Musicians

  • David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone)
  • John Hutchinson (guitar)
  • Derek Boyes (keyboard)
  • Derek Fearnley (bass)
  • John Eager (drums)
  • Produced by Tony Hatch

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Filed under 1966: Bowie & The Buzz

Do Anything You Say


bowiemod3

‘Do Anything You Say’ – Single Version (1966)

Lyrics

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
A_Side_Big
At a time long, long before David Bowie would surprise the world by releasing his new single ‘Where Are We Now?’ on his 66th birthday and the promise of a new album called The Next Day to be released a few months later – after 10 years of silence – young David Bowie was fronting the band The Buzz. He formed The Buzz on 6 February 1966, just a week after he disbanded with The Lower Third.

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).

David-Bowie-233

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)

——

Discography

Single Version:

  • 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

——

Musicians

  • David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone)
  • John Hutchinson (guitar)
  • Derek Boyes (keyboard)
  • Derek Fearnley (bass)
  • John Eager (drums)
  • Produced by Tony Hatch

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Filed under 1966: Bowie & The Buzz

And I Say To Myself


david-bowie_1966.jpg?w=385&h=240

‘And I Say To Myself’ – Single Version (1966)

Lyrics

And I say to myself
I've got it wrong, wrong, wrong
She is a play-girl
She the wrong wrong girl for me
And I say to myself
You're a fool, fool, fool
She doesn't love you
She doesn't need you, this I know

She's got a trail of men that she takes
Wherever she goes
She hasn't the strength to love any single man for a length of time

[And I say to myself]
Ooh, I don't stand a chance
[And I say to myself]
It's a long long romance
[And I say to myself]
Well, she's out to slay
[And I say to myself]
Well, she's got it made
[And I say to myself]
Oh yeah, oh yeah
[And I say to myself]
Oh yeah

And I say to myself that she shouldn't love anybody else in the world but me
And I say to myself
Forget her now, now, now
She don't want you
She don't love you anymore
And I say to myself you're a fool, fool, fool
She's don't love you
She don't need you, this I know

And I turn around and look at myself
You'll never get her, you're a fool
Say after me I'm a fool- I'm a fool

[And I say to myself]
I can't get what I want
[And I say to myself]
And it makes me sad
[And I say to myself]
I can't get what I want
[And I say to myself]
And it makes me mad
[And I say to myself]
Oh yeah, oh yeah
[And I say to myself]
Oh yeah

And I say to myself that she shouldn't love anybody else in the world but me,
yeah
Yeah

[And I say to myself]
Oh, I feel so sad
[And I say to myself]
She's making me mad
[And I say to myself]
And I say to myself
[And I say to myself]
That I love her
[And I say to myself]
And I say to myself that I need her
[And I say to myself]
Oh, I need her

And I say to myself I'm a fool
And I say to myself

AndISay_Big

Released as the B-side to the ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ single on 14 January 1966, ‘And I Say To Myself’ is a rather quiet and harmonious little piece differing both in sound and quality to the superior A-side.

Recorded together with ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ on 25 November 1965 at Pye Studios and produced by Tony Hatch, this song has some resemblance with a Bowie-demo discussed earlier on this blog: ‘Glad I’ve Got Nobody’. Both the chord and the style are similar to the demo. The beginninng of the song starts with some promising chromatic harmonic changes as heard in some Beatles songs. The song goes on and shows that its roots must also be in the doo-wop vocal harmony of the 1950s. Vocal inspiration came as well from the Motown sound and  the style of The Righteous Brothers and Marvin Gaye. Nicholas Pegg assumes that ‘And I Say To Myself’ adapted the chords used in Cooke’s ‘Wonderful World’. Bowie’s vocals on this record are a true improvement over earlier recordings. They are worthy matching them against Marvin Gaye in parts.

One major setback of the song is the less intriguing lyrical composition. The song is about a relationship with a rich girl. She does not like him as much as he likes her. The rich girl might perhaps be a reference to the more aristocratic early Bowie girlfriend Dana Gillespee. Hence, the song would hint at Bowie’s class-conscience.

What all these influences show is that David Bowie did not know where to go with his musical studies. Midway through this song it is not really possible to detect a sort of sense of direction that the song might take. It’s not one of the worst songs of early Bowie – by far not. But in my opinion, it remains one of the less interesting songs.

——

Discography

Single Version:

  • Vinyl ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ (A-Side) / ‘And I Say To Myself’ (B-Side) 1/1966
  • CD Early On (1964-1966) 1991
  • Vinyl I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles 1999

——

Musicians

  • David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone)
  • Dennis Taylor (guitar)
  • Graham Rivens (bass)
  • Phil Lancaster (drums)
  • Produced by Tony Hatch

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Filed under 1965-66: Davy Jones & The Lower Third