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Meat Loaf: What was ‘that’ in ‘I’d Do Anything for Love’?

Late singer explained his most misunderstood song lyric in a 2014 interview

Ellie Harrison
Friday 21 January 2022 09:49
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Meat Loaf performs ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ live

Meat Loaf, who has died aged 74, was best known for his 1993 hit “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”.

The lead single from the Bat Out of Hell II album earned the legendary singer a Grammy Award, but the “I won’t do that” lyric has long been misunderstood as referring to one thing, when it in fact refers to many.

In a 2014 interview with Yahoo!, Meat Loaf reflected on the lyric of the hit song, written by Jim Steinman. He said: “When we were recording it, Jim brings up the thing – he says, ‘People aren’t gonna know what ‘that’ is.’ I said, ‘Of course they are. How can they not know?’ He goes, ‘They’re not gonna.’”

Clearing up what “that” is, Meat Loaf explained: “It’s the line before every chorus. There’s nine of them, I think. The problem lies because Jimmy likes to write, so you forget what the line was before you get to, ‘I won’t do that.’”

According to the song, things that Meat Loaf wouldn’t do include “forget the way you feel right now”, “forgive myself if we don’t go all the way tonight”, “do it better than I do it with you” and “stop dreaming of you every night of my life”.

Lorraine Crosby also sings on the track. In her lyrics, she predicts that Meat Loaf will “see that it’s time to move on” and “be screwing around”, to which Meat Loaf replies, “I won’t do that.”

Meat Loaf’s death was confirmed by his agent on Friday (21 January). A cause of death has yet to be announced.

Tributes have already begun pouring in, along with fascinating tales from his storied career. Among them is the story of how he got his stage name, and how he helped David Fincher direct the 1999 film Fight Club, in which he played a supporting role.

Keep up to date with tributes and news surrounding Meat Loaf’s death on our live blog.

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