What You Won't Do for Love

Album: What You Won't Do for Love (1978)
Charted: 9

Songfacts®:

  • While Bobby Caldwell had a career spanning 30 years, this was his only Top 40 single and the song he's best remembered for. Caldwell wrote "What You Won't Do for Love" for his debut album, after he'd recorded the other songs and his manager expressed disappointment that there was no evident hit.
  • Bobby Caldwell is the jazz artist most noted for being white and yet sounding African-American. It got to the point where his label tried to hide the fact that he was white.

    Caldwell is also far more popular in Japan, of all places. There's no clear explanation for this, any more than for why David Hasselhoff is huge in Germany.
  • Artists to cover this song include Phyllis Hyman, Go West, Michael Bolton, and Victor Wooten. It was also part of the soundtrack for the 1997 crime-drama film Donnie Brasco.
  • "What You Won't Do for Love" is a good example of the "quiet storm" sub-genre. Quiet storm is a kind of slow, extra-smooth jazz meant to be played late-night on radio stations - the idea is that the music should go well with either coming home from a night on the town or a graveyard shift at work.
  • This was brought to the attention of a new audience when a commercial for the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander revived the smooth soul tune.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 10th, 1979, Bobby Caldwell performed "What You Won't Do For Love" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Three months earlier on December 17th, 1978 it entered the chart at position #83; and on March 18th it peaked at #9 (for 2 weeks) and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #6 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart and #10 on the Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    He had two other records made the Top 100; "Coming Down from Love" (#42 in 1980) and "All of My Love" (#77 in 1982)...
    Mr. Caldwell will celebrate his 63rd birthday this coming August 15th (2014).
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