What You Won't Do for Love (song)

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"What You Won't Do for Love"
Single by Bobby Caldwell
from the album What You Won't Do for Love
Released 1978
Recorded 1978
Genre Blue-eyed soul, smooth jazz, quiet storm
Length 4:45
Label TK
Writer(s) Bobby Caldwell, Alfons Kettner
Bobby Caldwell singles chronology
"What You Won't Do for Love"
"Coming Down from Love"

"What You Won't Do for Love" is a quiet storm single written by Alfons Kettner along with musician and singer Bobby Caldwell which he recorded for his debut album, released in 1978 on the TK Records label. The album was originally released as Bobby Caldwell, but the song's popularity led to the album's name being changed to that of the song.


After gaining a reputation in Miami clubs as a talented musician, Caldwell was signed to an exclusive contract with TK Records in 1978 by TK Records president Henry Stone. Heading to the studio, Caldwell recorded his first album, which was given a redo after Stone felt the album was good but "didn't have a hit". Caldwell returned to the studio and came up with the final product, which included "What You Won't Do for Love". A significant part of the song's success can be attributed to the memorable horn arrangement written and recorded by legendary Miami arranger Mike Lewis.


Caldwell wanted the song to be the sixth track on the album since he figured the song's second track, "My Flame", which featured him playing guitar, would be the hit. However, TK Records felt confident that "What You Won't Do for Love" would be the breakout hit. When it was released to R&B radio, TK Records did its best to shield Caldwell's identity hoping not to alienate its predominantly black audience. However, when Caldwell began making performances live on stage, it only increased demand. The song would become Caldwell's most successful single and also his signature song reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 6 on the Hot Selling Soul Singles chart, and number 10 on the Easy Listening chart.[1]

According to the broadcast of American Top 40 for the week ending February 3, 1979, the week in which the song debuted at #38 on the Top 40, a heart-shaped pressing of the single was the most expensive single up to that point. The heart-shaped single was originally released as a promotional item only, but public demand led to 50,000 copies being pressed in time for Valentine's Day 1978 with a retail price of $7.98—about the price of a full LP album at the time.[2] The single was also available on standard round vinyl as well.

Popular culture[edit]

Covers and samples[edit]

Since its release, the song has been often frequently covered by R&B, pop and jazz artists alike and has also been an oft-sampled song in hip-hop and house circles.

Chart position of Go West's cover version[edit]

Year Song UK Singles chart
1993 "What You Won't Do For Love" 15

Chart position of Boyz II Men's cover version[edit]

Year Song Hot R&B Singles
2004 "What You Won't Do For Love" 60


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 97. 
  2. ^ "American Top 40," Week Ending February 3, 1979, replayed February 8, 2014, SiriusXM Radio
  3. ^ "2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport TV Spot, 'New Beauty' Song Bobby Caldwell". iSpot.tv. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Video on YouTube
  5. ^ Video on YouTube
  6. ^ Video on YouTube
  7. ^ https://www.myspace.com/luciennluciano/music/albums/don-t-get-crazy-explicit-16973252
  8. ^ Video on YouTube

External links[edit]