What Meat Loaf Wouldn’t Do for Love
Being a songwriter and Meat Loaf fan, people often ask me, “Ryan, when Meat says ‘I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that,’ what does he mean by ‘that’?”
Well, the first thing you have to remember when you’re listening to any Meat Loaf album is, while Meat is singing his loaves off about love, the lyricist — an inordinately strange man named Jim Steinman, who reportedly never removes his black leather gloves, even while playing piano — is actually writing about sex. So the two words are largely interchangeable, and the title of the song more accurately becomes “I Would Do Anything for [Sex], but I Won’t Do That.”
The “that” changes many times throughout the song (all listed in my next paragraph), with the final “that” being most representative of the aforementioned dichotomy between the song’s writer and its performer. After Meat Loaf assures his lady friend (vocally portrayed by Patti Russo) of all the things he would do for her, she fears that it was just a fling, that Meat will forget his promises, and that sooner or later he’ll be “screwing around” behind her back. Bearing in mind the interpretation above, it’s easy to understand Meat Loaf’s retort: “[Baby], I would do anything for [sex], but I won’t [cheat on you]” for it.
Other things Meat won’t do: Meat Loaf will never lie to you. He will never forget the way you feel right now. He will never forgive himself if the two of you don’t go all the way tonight. He will never turn back. He will never do it better than he does it with you. He will never stop dreaming of you every night of his life. He won’t forget everything after a while or see that it’s time to move on. And he won’t cheat on you.
And now you know what Meat Loaf would do for love…
…and what he would not do just for sex.