“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf

“I’d Do Anything for Love” is a classic Meat Loaf song which is sort of like a call-and-response affair. In other words, what it is exactly that he “won’t do” – which as a matter of fact has been the subject of much debate – depends on what part of the song this particular phrase is uttered.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Meat Loaf's I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) at Lyrics.org.

The first part of the track has Meat Loaf performing as a soloist. By and large the addressee is his romantic interest, and what he is speaking to specifically is their romance. And the track commences with him exclaiming to this lady – and indeed the world – that he would “do anything for love”. Or let’s say more specifically he would do anything in the name of proving his love to her. And the lyrics are based on that idea – of him trying to convince her that he is indeed a viable lover.

So at the end of the first verse he proclaims to her that “I’ll never lie to you, and that’s a fact”. Thus in the subsequent chorus, when he states “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that”, the “that” would actually be lying to her.

And so goes the course of the first half of the track. So the next thing he “won’t do” is ‘forgive himself if they don’t go all the way tonight’. Or succinctly put, he has reasoned to this sleep with this lady this very evening. And apparently the opportunity to do so is ripe, for if he doesn’t take advantage of it he is apparently going to kicking himself for life.

The next activity he “won’t do” follows along a similar vein, in that Meat Loaf states he ‘will never do it better than he does it with her’. Now doing it is commonly understood to be a colloquialism for sex. So basically, what he seems to be stating is that he will never make love to another woman the way he does with her. And whereas on the surface such may seem like a brash statement, at least in the singer’s eyes it is a further expression of his genuine love, or perhaps infatuation one can argue.

Indeed the next proclamation he makes illustrates that point perfectly. For this time around what he “won’t do” is ‘stop dreaming of her every night of his life’.

Lorraine Crosby steps in

And shortly afterwards is when the female vocalist, in the form of Lorraine Crosby, enters the equation. This is when the call-and-response mechanism is more forthrightly introduced. Moreover during this part of the song, the male vocalist is exclaiming what he “can do” to please her in addition to what he “can’t do” to make her upset.

So what Meat Loaf can do for instance is “anything for love”. And in that regards, Lorraine does have quite a few demands. But what they ultimately boil down to is her wanting Meat to carry her away, and the two of them living happily ever after. And what he is promising he won’t do is basically play her out, suddenly lose interest in their relationship and start sleeping around with other women. Or going back to the previous point, he is basically pledging to love her – and only her – forever.

But considering how many times the phrase “I won’t do that” is used, especially during the first part of the song, it is understandable how some people may feel that it is not attached to any particular statement. Or put differently, Meat Loaf utilizes it in such a way whereas to some extent the “that” seems to be intentionally ambiguous. And that is because all of the ‘won’t dos’ combined ultimately point to one general idea, which is the male singer will never do anything to disappoint the woman that he loves. But the implication is that perhaps he is fibbing a bit, which is why his partner is grilling him so much, trying to ascertain his true level of commitment. Or as the title itself states, the male vocalist is the type of person who will “do anything for love”.

Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”

Facts about “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”

This is the lead single from what is considered Meat Loaf’s comeback album, which was entitled “Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell”. And it was released as such, by MCA Records, on 14 September 1993.

More specifically, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” was Meat Loaf’s comeback song, meaning that it thrust him back into the mainstream consciousness after years of obscurity. And it was written and produced by the same individual, Jim Steinman, who helped make Meat Loaf a music star in the first place.

Jim Steinman is a writer who is known for composing lengthy songs. And the album version of “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” is a whopping 12 minutes in its entirety. So of course, much to the chagrin of Steinman himself, a radio edit was produced at almost eight-minutes long, and the single version is approximately five minutes in length.

And as you will notice the radio edit is still relatively lengthy. In fact “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” set the record in both the United States and the United Kingdom as being the longest number-one hit ever.

Indeed “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” proved to the biggest hit of Meat Loaf’s career. For instance the track reached number one in an astonishing 15 countries. This included accomplishing the rare feat of topping both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, with was the only time Meat Loaf had topped either. In fact in terms of the latter, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” has gone down in history as being the top-selling single in the United Kingdom released in 1993, where it sold in excess of 750,000 copies.

Accordingly this track has been certified Platinum in a number of countries but in that regard fared best in Australia, where it has gone double-Platinum.

“I’d Do Anything for Love” also won a Grammy Award in the category of Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo in addition to a receiving a couple of nominations for Brit Awards.

However this is not to imply that this track was universally accepted. For instance it reportedly made music publication Blender’s list of the “50 Worst Songs of All Time” back in 2004.

The female vocalist on this track is acknowledged as being one Mrs. Loud. This is actually a nickname for Lorraine Crosby, a vocalist from the United Kingdom. It is not she who recites these parts in the music video but rather a model named Dana Patrick who lip syncs them.

And it should also be noted that Lorraine never received any royalty payments for her vocal contributions, despite “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” being such a huge hit. This is because she recorded her parts as guide vocals. However, she doesn’t seem to harbor any bitterness over the matter.

The music video to “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” was directed by none other than Michael Bay of “Transformers” fame. And the elaborate show, which required Meat Loaf to sit in a makeup chair for two hours, was based on a couple of popular movies itself, which are “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Beauty and the Beast”.

5 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sensual activity of the oral variation. Duh.

  2. Bud Fokker says:

    He means he won’t do a–l sex. Meatloaf songs are sophomoric sexual rants with little true emotional value.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am, and have been from day one, a Meatloaf Fan. This is the best, and probably most correct, interpretation of the meaning of this song I have ever read or heard.


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