‘Anything for Love’: Meat Loaf’s misunderstood lyric, explained


Meat Loaf, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 74, said he was frequently asked about the meaning of the lyric. (Donald Bowers/Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Oh for Meat’s sake! He explains it right there in the song!

Since releasing his chart-topping hit “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” in 1993, Meat Loaf’s fans have been clamoring for a little clarity. Specifically, what exactly is it that he won’t do for love?

“I get that question all the time,” the late singer, born Marvin Lee Aday, once remarked in a 1998 performance for VH1’s “Storytellers.” But as he explained, the answer is plainly laid out in the lyrics.

The confusion, he said, comes from the way those lyrics are arranged. Written by Meat Loaf’s longtime songwriter Jim Steinman, the song tells the story of a man professing his love for a woman and assuring her he’d “run right into hell and back” for love, among other things. During the course of the song, he also makes several promises. For instance, the man says:

But I’ll never stop dreaming of you every night of my life, no way
And I would do anything for love
Oh I would do anything for love
Oh I would do anything for love
But I won’t do that, no I won’t do that

“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That]

The thing he won’t do, Meat Loaf said, is spelled out in the line before the chorus kicks in. In the lyrics above, for example, he’s saying he would do anything for love, but he won’t ever “stop dreaming of you every night of [his] life.”

“It’s the line before every chorus,” Meat Loaf explained to the “Storytellers” audience, albeit with the help of a blackboard.

In fact, four such promises are made during the course of the song, each time before a chorus kicks in. In addition to saying he’ll “never stop dreaming of you,” the singer also says he’ll “never forget the way you feel right now,” “never forgive myself if we don’t go all the way,” and “never do it better than I do it with you.”

And those, according to Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman, are the things he won’t do.

By his own admission, however, Meat Loaf admitted that Steinman was worried about the clarity of the lyrics when they were making the record.

“When we were recording it, Jim [Steinman] brings up the thing — he says, ‘People aren’t gonna know what that is,’” Meat Loaf once recalled in a 2014 interview with Yahoo!, as transcribed by UltimateClassicRock.com. “I said, ‘Of course they are. How can they not know?’ He goes, ‘They’re not gonna.'”

Meat Loaf died Thursday at the age of 74, his family announced. No official cause of death was immediately made public.

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