Meat Loaf

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

Composed by Jim Steinman

Song Review by

It’s unlikely that anyone could have foreseen a comeback for Meat Loaf’s distinctive brand of operatic hard rock in the 1990's but Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell proved all naysayers wrong by becoming a quintuple-platinum smash. The secret to its success was that it made no attempt to tamper with the elements of his trademark style, a fact reflected by "I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)," an old-fashioned slice of metallic pomp that would have fit in just fine onBat Out Of Hell. 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. This mystery becomes clear in the second part, where the woman he loves prophesizes that once the glow of love wears off that "you’ll see that its time to move on" and "sooner or later you’ll be screwing around," an accusation that prompts him to give his titular pledge one last time. It’s an epic, wordy tale and Jim Steinman backs it up with a suitably bombastic musical accompaniment that pushes a set of yearning melodic phrases through a series of dynamic shifts that give it an epic grandeur. Meat Loaf’s recording of "I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)" fully realizes the song’s potential for epic grandeur: it starts with an intro where pounding piano lines duel with squalling guitar riffs over a rumbling beat and then alternates this style with mellow moments where the hard-hitting piano licks are fleshed out with ethereal synthesizer and choral-styled backing vocals. 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. He is also assisted by vocalist Lorraine Crosby, who matches his lung power and gives off plenty of sparks during the closing duet section. It all added up to a 12-minute epic that was gloriously silly and tremendously rousing all at once. As a result, "I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)" became a #1 hit and also spawned a Beauty And The Beast-derived video (directed by a young Michael Bay) that became an MTV favorite. It remains a classic with Meat Loaf fans because of its thoroughly classic power ballad style.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Hits Out of Hell 1984 Sony BMG 5:22
I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) [Alex CD Single] 1993 Virgin 7:52
Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell 1993 MCA 7:41
Brit Awards 1994 1994
Various Artists
Alex
In the Air Tonight: Virgin's Greatest Hits 1994
Various Artists
DA Music
The Best Pop Album in the World ...Ever [Eva] 1994
Various Artists
Eva 5:24
Best Rock Ballads in the World...Ever 1995
Various Artists
Virgin 5:24
Love Album [Virgin] 1995
Various Artists
Virgin 5:23
Live Around the World 1996 Tommy Boy
The Ultimate Rock Collection Gold and Platinum, Vol. 6: 1989-1995 1997
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:16
The Very Best of Meatloaf 1998 Epic 11:58
Rock on 1993 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:15
Now: 1993 [1999] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 5:24
VH1 Storytellers 1999 Eagle Records / Eagle Rock 6:22
Very 90's: Biggest Hits Of... 1999
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 7:54
Best of 1990-2000 1999
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:22
Kuschelrock, Vol. 8 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:31
Heart of Metal 2000
Various Artists
Hip-O / Polygram 11:57
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through the Years 2000
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 5:13
Classic Rock 80's 2000
Various Artists
Trans World 5:15
Wetten Dass...? Das Beste Aus 20 Jahren 2001
Various Artists
BMG / Media Records 5:25
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through Years - The 90's 2001
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 5:13
Guitar Rock: Power Ballads 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:15
Best Long Versions Ever 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Pop Classics [Disky] 2002
Various Artists
Disky
Now: Decades 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Bittersweet Love Songs: The Two Sides Of 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:22
Bat Out of Hell: Live with the Melbourne Symphony 2004 Mercury 11:05
Power Ballads [EMI] 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Power Ballads Gold 2005
Various Artists
Hip-O 6:40
Dad Rocks! [EMI Australia 2005] 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:43
Ultimate 16: Retro '90s 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 5:15
Ultimate 16: Ultimate 80's Rock 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 5:15
Classic Soft Rock: Into the Night 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:15
Ultimate 16: Ultimate Power of Love 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 5:15
All #1 Hits 90s 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 5:15
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:15
Ultimative Chartshow: Rockballaden 2007
Various Artists
Polystar
3 Bats Live [DVD] 2007 Hip-O
The Ultimate Rock Ballads Collection: High Enough 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 5:16
Top of the Pops 1993 2008
Various Artists
EMI 5:23
Playlist: Rock 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 5:24
SWR 1 Sommer Rock 2008
Various Artists
EMM 5:23
This Is...1993 2008
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire / Parlophone 5:23
The Best Love...Ever! [Poland] 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:21
Mum Rocks! 2009
Various Artists
Virgin 5:24
Now! That's What I Call the 90s [2009] 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:23
Top of the Pops: Nineties [2009] 2009
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 5:22
Rarities Edition: Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell 2010 Geffen 5:15
The Essential Meat Loaf 2011 Epic 11:57
The  Vow (Music From the Motion Picture) 2012
Various Artists
Rhino 5:23
Icon 2014 Geffen 5:14
RMF on 90's 2015
Various Artists
Universal
20 #1's: Power Ballads
Various Artists
Hip-O 6:41
90's Night: 1993
Various Artists
Music Factory
90s Hits Icons
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Music 5:16
No Image
Various Artists
Eva 5:22
No Image
Original Soundtrack
Sony Classical
School's Out '90s
Various Artists
EMI
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Music 5:25
No Image
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
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