Do Anything You Wanna Do

Album: Life on the Line (1977)
Charted: 9

Songfacts®:

  • "Do Anything You Wanna Do" is the band's best known song, and leant its name to the biography Eddie And The Hot Rods: Do Anything You Wanna Do, by Steve Crancher, which was published by Desert Island Books, Southend-On-Sea, Essex in 2008.

    According to this book, the music was composed by guitarist Graeme Douglas, and the words were written by the band's manager, Ed Hollis. The song was "more poppy than anything previously released by the band, perhaps the start of something new. So Island decided this would be the first single under the name the Rods".
  • The record was "Single Of The Week" all round, and "The lyrics, incidentally, had been based loosely on Aleister Crowley's philosophy 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law'." This is actually a direct quote from Crowley's Bible which he called The Book Of The Law.

    Edward Alexander Crowley (1875-1947) is one of the best known, some would say notorious, mystics in history. He attended Cambridge University during which time he developed an interest in mysticism, which would dominate his life. Crowley's father died when he was eleven years old, and his seeking an alternative path was probably a reaction to his upbringing; his parents were members of the Plymouth Brethren, an ultra Puritanical Christian sect. His father had left him well provided for, and apart from writing and publishing obscene poetry and his own mystical, religious, philosophical nonsense, he appears to have done no meaningful work in his life.

    He appears too to have spent his life literally doing anything he wanted to do, within his means, and revelled in the names "The Beast" (bestowed on him by his own mother), The Wickedest Man Alive and The Wickedest Man In The World.

    Although he never actually murdered anyone, Crowley was morally responsible for the deaths of four men during a climbing expedition; he also drove his own wife mad.

    In 1934, he lost an ill-advised libel action he had brought over a book called Laughing Torso. In its law report for November 8, the Times of November 9, 1934 quoted Malcolm Hilbery KC who appeared for the respondents at Crowley's appeal: "Any jury would be perverse if it came to any other conclusion". The Lord Justices appear to have agreed, and dismissed the application.
  • While Ozzy Osbourne may have paid lip service to The Beast with "Mr. Crowley," this earlier song takes a different view; they put a picture of him on the record sleeve, "but in typical Hot Rods' style they decided to stick a pair of Mickey Mouse ears on Crowley's image - a decision they would come to regret."

    They received stacks of mail from people who thought this was unwise.

    Crowley frittered away his money as well as his life, and died a penniless heroin addict in a Hastings boarding house on December 1, 1947, but with the Swinging Sixties, flower power and the hippy culture, he suddenly became hip, and big names including Jimmy Page and John Lennon paid homage to him. While there is nothing either unnatural or new about rebellious youth adopting Crowley's to Hell with the rest of the world attitude, most of these admirers would baulk at or even shrink in horror from some of the things he advocated, practiced or is said to have practiced, including drinking the blood of a sacrificed cat (which was said to have killed one of his followers), abandoning his wife, or engaging in all manner of perverted sex.
  • "Do Anything You Wanna Do" was released on the Island label backed by "Schoolgirl Love."

    Running to exactly four minutes, it was also released as a twelve inch single, and is the opening track on Life On The Line. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above
  • Eddie & the Hot Rods singer Barrie Masters told Louder Sound in 2019 he had no idea about who Aleister Crowley was and didn't know anything about his philosophy. "I'd heard about it, but I was an in-your-face rock'n'roller, not into the magical mystical side of things," he said.

    Masters added that they were just bored young kids from a small town. "The song means as much today as it did then: kids trying to break out of their town to find something to do, rather than being told what to do," he said. "Ed put into words what we were feeling. He'd listen to things we said and write lyrics about them."
  • When Masters recorded his defiant vocal for this song, he was suffering from a bad toothache. "I shouldn't have been singing, really," he said. "There were two versions: one was technically right, the other had a few mistakes but felt right and that was the one that was released. I think the toothache gave me a bit more anger."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Psychedelic Lyrics

Psychedelic LyricsMusic Quiz

Whoa man! Do you know which band came up with these cosmic lyrics?

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Frankie Valli

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Alan Merrill of The Arrows

Alan Merrill of The ArrowsSongwriter Interviews

In her days with The Runaways, Joan Jett saw The Arrows perform "I Love Rock And Roll," which Alan Merrill co-wrote - that story and much more from this glam rock pioneer.

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.

Amy Grant

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.