Meat Loaf 's 'I'd Do Anything For Love' hit No. 1 in 1993: What is the 'that' he won't do

30 years ago, Meat Loaf hit number one with "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)," a song that confuses listeners decades later.

Meat Loaf On stage
Meat Loaf On stage / Michael Putland/GettyImages

The power ballad "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)," the hit by Meat Loaf, topped the charts on November 6, 1993. Thirty years later, fans and listeners still contemplate what exactly was the "that" he wouldn't do.

Written by Jim Steinman, the song was featured on the singer's sixth album, Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell. Meat Loaf won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance for this song. The title was first used in Bonnie Tyler's "Getting So Excited" on the album Faster than the Speed of Light, produced by Steinman.

What is Meat Loaf's number one song?

"I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" would reach No. 1 in 28 countries and was the first and only No. 1 hit for Meat Loaf on the Billboard Hot 100. The album version runs for 12 minutes of campy lyrics sung in Meat Loaf's powerful rock and roll voice. Many critics stated it is an over-the-top song, but add that is the appeal.

""Bombastic? Of course, it's bombastic. I take that as a compliment. Rock & roll is the most bombastic form ever - heightened, oversized, gigantic, thrilling, and silly.""

Jim Steinman told Q magazine

As one of the most misunderstood lyrics in music history, the song sparks conversations about what Meal Loaf won't do for love. Towards the song's end, it becomes a duet as Lorraine Crosby, credited as Mrs. Loud, joins Meat Loaf. She begins to list the things she expects in a relationship and then the things he may do to damage their relationship.

Early in the song, the lyrics mention things he would DO for love before he "pray(s) to the god of sex and drums and Rock 'N' Roll." (the original phrase is sex, drugs, and rock and roll, which Meat Loaf often substituted during live performances).

What Meat Loaf WILL do for love:

  • Run right into hell and back
  • Never lie to you, and that's a fact
  • I'll be there till the final act
  • I'll take the vow and seal a pact

At the end of the duet with Mrs. Loud, she mentions the things he would do that would negatively affect the relationship, to which he replies, "I won't do that." Those negative things are the "that" he won't do for love, these include:

  • I'll never forget the way you feel right now
  • I'll never forgive myself if we don't go all the way
  • I'll never do it better than I do it with you
  • I'll never stop dreaming of you every night of my life
  • Forget everything as a brief interlude and a midsummer night's fling, then see that it's time to move on
  • It'll all turn to dust and we'll all fall down, sooner or later, you'll be screwing around

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