“Foot was formed in a farmhouse up around Brome, Ontario, and the album material was put together up there,” explained drummer Danny Taylor to a Hamilton radio interviewer. The band recorded the song as their debut single for Frank Davies (himself a Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame award recipient) of Daffodil Records at Toronto’s Manta Sound Studios, with Frank producing and Leo DeCarlo engineering (Leo also engineered John Lennon's final 'Double Fantasy' album).
Taylor continued, “I had the melody and the lyrics and Paul had this great-sounding guitar riff that was in open tuning, which in those days was relatively new… it all had that open strumming sound to it which was magical.”
Many have praised the recording’s production, with its opening understated guitar chords, Alex Machin’s sexy heartfelt vocals, and emotive strings building to the now-famous guitar solo.
Taylor added, “It was a fantastic solo. He [Paul Naumann] didn’t come right off the floor with that solo; he did about three solos and we chose the best one and then Paul doubletracked it.”
Frank Davies remembers, “We knew it was a ‘classic’ and we held our collective breath waiting for it to come out to see how the public and media reacted.”
The reaction, as anticipated, was enthusiastic and immediate. Make Me Do Anything You Want (DFS 1017), with Alone Together on the B side, entered RPM’s top singles chart in June 1972 and became a Top 40 hit. Radio stations CJOE (London, Ontario) and CKOC (Hamilton) told “Billboard” magazine it was the best Canadian single they had played that year; it was CKOC’s No. 2 song. In September, “Billboard” reported that the song was top five in Winnipeg and Ottawa and was also charting on French stations. The single also charted on CHUM radio to No. 21, while the album climbed to No. 8.
With further exposure on CTV’s “Rollin’ On The River” hosted by country singer Kenny Rogers, Anything You Want turned A Foot in Coldwater into a hot group right across Canada and helped Davies secure a worldwide deal for the band with Jac Holzman at Elektra Records in New York.
Two years later, the band re-recorded a shortened version (DIL 1058) for Elektra, which also charted on RPM, peaking at No. 33 in March 1975. By 1993 the song earned a SOCAN Classic award for over 100,000 airplays. The song was also chosen for the seminal “Oh, What a Feeling” compilation.
A later cover by the Canadian platinum-selling band Helix also reached RPM’s No. 40 in May 1985 and was No. 6 on the Top Cancon Singles chart.
Record producer Frank Davies says, “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want … has been a staple of Canadian radio’s gold rotation for 45 years and [is] still named by many music directors and audiences alike as one of their all-time favourite records.”
Guitarist and songwriter Heinz Paul Naumann (born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1952, died in 2009) moved to Toronto with his family as a youngster. There he became known for his guitar skills, playing in such bands as Leather (produced by Mountain and Cream's producer Felix Pappalardi) and then joined Nucleus briefly as they transitioned into A Foot In Coldwater. After 'Foot' broke up, Naumann joined Steppenwolf in 1979.
Toronto-born drummer Danny Gordon Taylor played with Nucleus and the Lords of London in the 1960s. After Foot disbanded, Danny joined Hughie Leggat's group Leggat for their 'Illuminations' album (Capitol) and tours, did session work for various artists, and has performed with the re-formed Foot at charity events including a tribute to Canadians who died in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
Taylor and Naumann had another classic 'Foot' hit with (Isn’t Love Unkind) In My Life in 1973.