I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That): Wikis


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"I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"
Single by Meat Loaf
from the album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell
Released 1993
Format Vinyl, CD, Cassette
Recorded Ocean Way Recording (LA)[1]
Genre Rock
Length 12:01 (album version)
Label MCA
Writer(s) Jim Steinman
Producer Jim Steinman
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Meat Loaf singles chronology
"Rock 'n' Roll Mercenaries"
"I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"
"Bat Out of Hell"

"I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" is a song composed and written by Jim Steinman, and recorded by Meat Loaf. The song was released in 1993 as the first single from the album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell.

The final verse features a female vocalist who was credited only as "Mrs. Loud" in the album notes. She was later identified as Lorraine Crosby, a club performer from North East England.[2] She does not, however, appear in the video, in which her vocals are lipsynched by Dana Patrick. Meat Loaf promoted the single with American vocalist Patti Russo performing the live female vocals. The title of the song confused some listeners, who did not realize that each "that" is a reference to the particular promise that he made earlier in the same verse.

The song was a commercial success, reaching number one in twenty-eight countries.[1] The single was certified platinum in the United States and became Meat Loaf's first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and on the UK singles chart. The song earned Meat Loaf a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo.


Music and lyrics

The song opens with a guitar played to sound like a revving motorcycle, which scholar Anne Bader interprets as foreshadowing "the male angst to come".[3] This is a reference to Todd Rundgren's contribution in the middle of "Bat Out of Hell". Roy Bittan's piano begins to play, along with the guitars. The vocals begin at the 1:50[4] point, which is where many pop songs are beginning their second chorus. Steinman "alternates ... [a bombastic] style with mellow moments where the hard-hitting piano licks are fleshed out with ethereal synthesizer and choral-styled backing vocals."[5]

And I would do anything for love
I'd run right into hell and back

These opening vocals are accompanied by piano and backing vocals. The song then becomes much louder as the band, predominately piano, plays the main melody for twenty seconds. An instrumental section follows the first verse and chorus, lasting over 45 seconds, follows, with piano playing the title melody, accompanied by guitar and wordless background vocals by Todd Rundgren, Rory Dodd and Kasim Sulton. The lead vocals recommence with another verse. The popular phrase "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" was censored to become "Some days I just pray to the god of sex and drums and rock and roll."[6]

At the 9:28 point, the song transforms into a duet coda, which scholar Ann Bader analyzes as presenting "the relationship from the woman's point of view. Just like Rapunzel, Snow White and the countless other passive victims who populate our culture's stories, this woman awaits her rescuer. In lyrics that float airily above the level of pop songwriting, she asks her suitor to fix everything for her."[3] The structure of the verses remain, but the female now asks what the male would do. He answers in the affirmative for the first four sections.

Will you make me some magic with your own two hands?
Can you build an emerald city with these grains of sand?
Can you give me something I can take home?
I can do that!

The song's tone changes for the final two sections, the girl guesses that he would eventually do things to upset her and their relationship:[3] firstly that he'd forget all of their memories and feelings between them and want "to move on", and, secondly, would be "screwing around". Both times, he responds "But I won't do that".

Perceived ambiguity of "that"

Each verse mentions two things that he would do for love, followed by one thing that he will not do. The title phrase repetition reasserts that he "won't do that" previously stated one thing. Each mention of "that" is a reference to the particular promise that he made earlier in the same verse.[7] For example, one such line is "But I'll never forget the way you feel right now ..."[7] In addition, at the song's conclusion, the female vocalist predicts two other things that he will do: "You'll see that it's time to move on" and "You'll be screwing around". To both of these, he emphatically responds, "I won't do that!"

Some people misunderstand the lyrics, claiming that the singer never identifies what "that" thing is, which he will not do.[8] Steinman predicted this confusion during production.[9] An early episode of the VH1 program Pop-up Video made this claim at the end of the song's video: "Exactly what Meat Loaf won't do for love remains a mystery to this day."[10] A reviewer writing for Allmusic commented that "The lyrics build suspense by portraying a romance-consumed lover who pledges to do anything in the name of love except 'that,' a mysterious thing that he will not specify."[5] The reviewer concludes that the mystery is revealed during the closing stages of the song, incorrectly implying that all references of "that" refer to the female vocalist's predictions at the end. Others assume that "that" is a reference to a sex act.[11] Scholar Anne Bader interprets this as providing "an enlightening example of how listeners project their own thoughts, values, and concerns onto the meaning of the song with misconstrued lyrics."[3]

Although Meat Loaf believed that the lyrics were unambiguous, the singer recalls that Steinman predicted that they would cause confusion.[12] Meat Loaf says that the question, "What is 'that'?" is one of the most popular questions he is asked.[11] In his 1998 VH1 Storytellers special, he even explained it on stage using a blackboard and a pointing stick.[7] In a 1993 promotional interview, Steinman states that the definition of "that" is fully revealed in the song in each of the several verses in which it is mentioned.

It sort of is a little puzzle and I guess it goes by - but they're all great things. 'I won't stop doing beautiful things and I won't do bad things.' It's very noble. I'm very proud of that song because it's very much like out of the world of Excalibur. To me, it's like Sir Lancelot or something - very noble and chivalrous. That's my favorite song on the record - it's very ambitious.[13][14]


Steinman's songs are usually much longer than most other songs, and "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" is no exception.[9] The song is a full twelve minutes, and Steinman broke down when executives advised him that he had to cut it down to get radio play.[9] Manager Allen Kovac warned that any song over five minutes would not be played on radio, saying that if Steinman and the group did not make the cuts then the stations would. Even after they made the cuts, Steinman sent his own version to the stations.[9]

The single version was edited down to almost six minutes, where the entire motorcycle introduction is omitted.[9] The video version was whittled down to seven minutes and thirty-eight seconds, where the motorcycle intro remains, but not in its entirety.[15] In the video version and single version, the lengthy instrumental break is completely omitted. In the video and single versions, the refrain, which reads "I'd do anything for love, anything you've been dreaming of, but I just won't do that", which is sung before the instrumental bridge, was to be repeated three times, but was whittled down to having the one line repeated twice. Lorraine Crosby sings six verses in the complete song. In the video version, the second and third verses are omitted. In the single versions, the second, third, and fifth verses are omitted.


Lorraine Crosby, a club singer from North East England, performed the female vocals. Crosby and her partner Stuart Emerson had moved to Los Angeles to work with Jim Steinman, who became their manager. He secured them a contract with Meat Loaf's recording label MCA. While visiting the company's recording studios on Sunset Boulevard, Crosby was asked to provide guide vocals for Meat Loaf, who was recording "I'd Do Anything for Love". Crosby recalls, "in I went and sang it twice and I never thought anything more of it until six months later when I got a phone call saying, `Would you mind if we used your vocals?'" Cher, Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Tyler had been considered for the role.[2] However, as Crosby had recorded her part as guide vocals, she did not receive any royalties from the song.[2]

Music video

Michael Bay directed the music video. He also directed the videos for "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are" and "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through", also from Bat Out of Hell II. Filming took place in Los Angeles County, California in July 1993; the opening chase was filmed at Chávez Ravine, with the interior mansion scenes filmed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.[10] The cinematographer was Daniel Pearl, particularly known for filming The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1973. Pearl says that this video "is one of my personal all-time favorite projects... I think the cinematography is pure, and it tells a story about the song."[16] He would later film the Chainsaw remake, which was produced by Bay.

The video is based on Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera. Bob Keane did Meat Loaf's make-up, which took up to two hours to apply. The make-up was designed to be simple and scary, yet "with the ability to make him sympathetic."[17] It went over budget, and was filmed in 90 °F (32 °C) heat, across four days. According to one executive, it "probably had the budget of Four Weddings and a Funeral."[6] It is the abridged seven minute single version, rather than the twelve minute (11:58) album version.

The actress in the video, Dana Patrick, is miming to Crosby's vocals,[1] however, as she would to Patti Russo's in the 1995 song "I'd Lie for You (And That's the Truth)".[10] According to the captions aired on Pop-Up Video, Patrick received several offers for record deals after the video aired, by executives who assumed she was actually singing in the video.[10]

Track listing

The single cover is a cropped version of the painting Leavetaking by fantasy illustrator Michael Whelan, who also painted the Bat Out of Hell II cover.[18]

All songs written and composed by Jim Steinman. 

UK CD single[19]
# Title Length
1. "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"   7:52
2. "Back into Hell"   2:45
3. "Everything Louder than Everything Else (Live)"   9:18


The song reached number one in the charts in 28 countries.[1] It was Meat Loaf's first and only number one solo single.[20] It was number one in the US five weeks. In the UK, it topped the singles chart, and at seven minutes and 52 seconds, "I'd Do Anything For Love" becoming the longest song on top there since The Beatles' hit "Hey Jude".[21] This was then broken when Oasis released their 1997 hit "All Around The World", clocking in at 9 minutes and 20 seconds.

In the UK, this was the biggest hit of 1993, selling 761,200 copies and staying at number one for seven weeks.[22] As a result of its success, "Bat Out of Hell" was reissued in the UK, this time reaching the top ten (which it didn't achieve on its first release in 1979), meaning Meat Loaf achieved the rare feat of having two singles in the UK Top Ten at the same time.

Critical reaction was mixed. Allmusic said that "Meat Loaf sells the borderline-campy lyrics with a full-throated vocal whose stirring sense of conviction brings out the heart hidden behind the clever phrases."[5] Meat Loaf won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo for the song.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d "Lorraine Crosby's biography" (archived copy from the Internet Archive). Lorraine Crosby.com. Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20070716083829/http://www.lorrainecrosby.com/bio2.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  2. ^ a b c Holt, Pauline (Dec 7 2003). "All on her own". Sunday Sun. http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/whats-on-newcastle/music-gigs/2003/12/07/all-on-her-own-72703-13701538/. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d Bader, Anne (2007). "Media myths in popular love songs". in Galician, Mary-Lou; Merskin, Debra L.. Critical thinking about Sex, love, and romance in the mass media: media literacy applications. London: Routledge. p. 155–6. ISBN 0805856153. 
  4. ^ The timings in this article refer to the original album version. There are many shorter single and radio edits.
  5. ^ a b c Guarisco, Donald A. "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)". Allmusic. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:qtfnzos2eh8k. Retrieved 2006-09-29.  The review incorrectly attributes the female vocals to Ellen Foley.
  6. ^ a b "MARKETING MEAT LOAF". Producers: Gina & Jerry Newson. The Music Biz. BBC2. 1995-06-12. No. 4, season 1.
    The section from this episode about the marketing of Bat Out of Hell II, and the filming of this music video, has been rebroadcast as part of BBC Learning Zone's Media Studies strand.
  7. ^ a b c "Meat Loaf", VH1 Storytellers, [DVD]
  8. ^ "Kicked Out of Hell". Indy's Meat Loaf fan site. http://www.fitz42.net/meatloaf/blenderletter.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-29.  ; "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)". Indy's Meat Loaf fan site. http://www.fitz42.net/meatloaf/songs/iddoanythingforlove.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-29. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Loaf, Meat; David Dalton (2000). To Hell and Back: An Autobiography. London: Virgin Publishing. pp. 203–4. ISBN 0-7535-0443-X. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Episode 5". Pop-up Video. VH1.
  11. ^ a b Meat Loaf (commentary). (2004). Meat Loaf Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. [DVD]. Melbourne: Warner Music Vision. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0437327/. 
  12. ^ Loaf, Meat; David Dalton (2000). To Hell and Back: An Autobiography. London: Virgin Publishing. pp. 203–4. ISBN 0-7535-0443-X. "Jimmy always said, "You know what? Nobody's gonna get it." And he was right." 
  13. ^ Jim Steinman. (1993). Back into Hell: Meat Loaf & Jim Steinman interview. [DVD]. Virgin Records. 
  14. ^ ""The Artist's Mind"". jimsteinman.com. http://www.jimsteinman.com/bat2am.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-22. 
  15. ^ Video available on Bat out of Hell II: Collector's Edition, Virgin
  16. ^ "Pearl Looks Forward to Future, 25 Years after Texas Chainsaw Massacre". International Cinematographers Guild. http://www.cameraguild.com/interviews/chat_pearl/pearl_icgpiece.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-29. 
  17. ^ Meat Loaf. (1993). Back into Hell: Meat Loaf & Jim Steinman interview. [DVD]. Virgin Records. 
  18. ^ "Leavetaking". Gallery Collection. The Art of Michael Whelan. Archived from the original on 2006-11-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20061117075145/http://www.michaelwhelan.com/index.asp?vsPage=gallerycollection. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  19. ^ http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gnfrxzrjldje
  20. ^ It's All Coming Back to Me Now, featuring Norwegian singer Marion Raven, reached #1 in Norway in 2006
  21. ^ Weekly World News. 15. Dec 7, 1993. p. 13. 
  22. ^ "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". songfacts.com. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2952. Retrieved 2006-08-29. 
  23. ^ "GRAMMY AWARDS: BEST ROCK VOCAL SOLO PERFORMANCE". Rock on the Net. http://www.rockonthenet.com/grammy/rocksolo.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
Preceded by
"The River of Dreams" by Billy Joel
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
September 4, 1993 - October 23, 1993
Succeeded by
"Mr Vain" by Culture Beat
Preceded by
"Relight My Fire" by Take That featuring Lulu
UK Singles Chart Number 1 single
October 17, 1993 for 7 weeks
Succeeded by
"Mr Blobby" by Mr Blobby
Preceded by
"Boom! Shake The Room" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
October 17, 1993 for 6 weeks
Succeeded by
"Please Forgive Me" by Bryan Adams
Preceded by
"Dreamlover" by Mariah Carey
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
November 6, 1993- December 4, 1993
Succeeded by
"Again" by Janet Jackson
Preceded by
"What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes
Austrian number one single
November 14, 1993 - January 30, 1994
Succeeded by
"U Got 2 Let the Music" by Cappella
Preceded by
"What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes
Swiss number one single
November 21, 1993 - January 16, 1994
Succeeded by
"U Got 2 Let the Music" by Cappella
Preceded by
"I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
Top selling single of the year (UK)
Succeeded by
"Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet

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