This was Meat Loaf's comeback song. In 1977, his album Bat Out Of Hell produced the hits "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad," "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," and "You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth," all written by the piano player Jim Steinman. After a falling out with Steinman and difficulty in his personal life, Meat Loaf released several unsuccessful albums before reuniting with Steinman for Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which was considered a sequel to the 1977 album. This has a very similar sound to Meat Loaf's previous hits, and the bombastic, piano-driven style went over well with his old fans as well as a new generation of listeners, helping make this a massive hit.
The female vocalist is Lorraine Crosby. Also known as "Mrs. Loud," she has appeared on backup vocals for a number of artists and sings at various social functions in the UK. Patti Russo is Meat Loaf's backing singer who sings the vocals live in concert with him, and in the video for the song, the model Dana Patrick is lip-synching to Lorraine's voice. (thanks, Julia - London, England)
In the line, "I will do anything for love, but I won't do that," the "that" is whatever he said just before that. For example: "But I'll never forget the way you feel right now, Oh no - no way - I would do anything for love, But I won't do that" - The "that" in this particular verse is "forget the way you feel right now." Meat Loaf said this himself on his StoryTellers episode on VH1. (thanks, Melly - Chicago, IL)
The album version is about 12-minutes long. The radio mix runs 7:58, which was still a very long song to receive airplay. In both the US and UK, it is the longest #1 hit ever. It beat the previous record-holder, "Hey Jude" by The Beatles, by a margin of 47 seconds. (thanks, Emery - London, England)
In the UK, this was the biggest hit of 1993, selling 761,200 copies. It was #1 on the UK charts for 7 weeks, and would have been the Christmas #1 in 1993 if it stayed #1 for the eighth week. It was beaten by Mr. Blobby's Christmas single.
Meat Loaf won a Grammy for Best Rock Solo Performance for his work on this song.
Michael Bay directed the video for this song. David Fincher was the first choice, but he wanted $1.7 million for the budget. Seems hard to believe, but Bay - the man who would later direct the movies Transformers and Pearl Harbor - was the cheaper option. Bay did it for $750,000, and it made heavy rotation on MTV. The next two Meat Loaf videos were also directed by Bay: "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" and "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are."
Many music critics turned up their noses at this song, putting it a lot of snarky "Worst Of" lists at the end of 1993. Blender magazine named one of the 50 worst songs of all-time in their 2004 list.
In the movie Spiceworld, where Meat Loaf plays the Spice Girls' bus driver, there is a problem that the toilets are always clogged. When Clifford (the girls' manager) asks Meat Loaf to fix them he says, "Listen, I love these girls, and I'll do anything for them... but I won't do that." (thanks, Lisa - Alabaska, AL)