Love Will Never Do (Without You)

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"Love Will Never Do (Without You)"
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814
B-side
  • "You Need Me"
  • "The 1814 Megamix"
ReleasedOctober 2, 1990 (1990-10-02)
Recorded1988–1989
StudioFlyte Tyme (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Genre
Length
  • 5:50 (album version/video mix)
  • 4:35 (single version/radio edit)
LabelA&M
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Producer(s)
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
  • Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Black Cat"
(1990)
"Love Will Never Do (Without You)"
(1990)
"State of the World"
(1991)
Music video
"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" on YouTube

"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson and was Composed by songwriters and record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Janet recorded the song for her fourth studio album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). It was released as the seventh commercial single from the album by A&M Records on October 2, 1990. In 1991 it topped the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, becoming the fifth number-one hit of her career and the fourth number-one single from Rhythm Nation 1814. On both the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Dance Club Songs charts, the single peaked in the top five. It also peaked within the top 40 in several countries. It is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting sales of 500,000 units in the US alone.

Upon its release, Music critics praised the song as one of the highlights of Rhythm Nation 1814, with reviews focusing on the execution of Jackson's layered vocals and harmonies. Lyrically, "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" speaks of love conquering all, despite negative perceptions about a tumultuous relationship.

A music video was directed by Herb Ritts, and it features actors Antonio Sabàto Jr. and Djimon Hounsou. At the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, the video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video. The video has also appeared on several all-time lists, produced by MTV, Rolling Stone, and VH1.

Background and composition[edit]

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis considered the idea of making this song a duet. According to Fred Bronson's The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, they thought about possibly getting Prince, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, or someone else working with them at the time. However, there was no concrete plan. During the recording of the first verse, Jimmy Jam told Jackson, "Sing it low like some guy would sing it." As a result, they kept the idea of her singing the first verse in a low octave but go an octave up on the second verse.[1]

The Single Edit was included on Jackson's 1995 greatest-hits compilation Design of a Decade: 1986–1996. In 1996, the song was remixed by Roger Sanchez. Although being one of the album's last singles, it was one of the first songs recorded for Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. The song's background vocals were recorded in late 1988, while Jackson recorded the lead vocals in January 1989. Herb Alpert plays trumpet on the track.[2]

"Love Will Never Do" is written in the key of A major and has a tempo of 103 beats per minute[3] in common time. Jackson's vocals span from F3 to C6 in the song.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Andy Healy from Albumism noted that "the slinky bassline" of "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" "seduces with ease as Jackson sings about the desire for a fulfilling love, even one against the odds." He added further, "With a shimmering arrangement beneath her, Jackson delivers one of her finest moments on record. Often characterized as having a whispering vocal, here Jackson sings with strength and confidence and layers the song in lush backing harmonies that glisten with every passing line."[5] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "Here's yet one more sparkling gem from La Jackson's bejeweled "Rhythm Nation 1814" epic. This time, she strikes a sexy swing-funk pose".[6] A reviewer from Music & Media described it as "a suspenseful, sparsely arranged dance-floor track sporting some great vocals and subtle licks."[7]

Chart performance[edit]

The song became Jackson's fifth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and the final of seven top five singles from the album, making her the only artist to achieve seven top five singles from one album. On the Radio & Records Airplay chart the song debuted at #24 on the November 23, 1990, issue, after four weeks it reached #1 staying at the top of the chart for three weeks and staying on the top 10 for seven weeks, the single remained on the chart for twelve weeks.[8] The success of "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" also helped the album to become the first in history to produce number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in three separate calendar years, those being "Miss You Much" in 1989, "Escapade" and "Black Cat" in 1990, and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" in 1991.

The single was certified Gold by the RIAA, but achieved even greater airplay success, topping the Airplay Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks, becoming the longest-running airplay number one single at the time.[9]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying video was directed by American photographer Herb Ritts, and choreographed by Ritts, Jackson and Tina Landon on September 13, 1990. Jackson originally planned to wear a dress for the video, but Ritts envisioned Jackson in nothing more than a black top, a pair of jeans, and light brown hair. The video features cameos by actors Antonio Sabàto Jr. and Djimon Hounsou.[10] Ritts commented,

"Because Janet is known for her instinctive talent for dance, as well as being an all around entertainer, Janet and I decided to try something innovative on the video. The video is a departure from her elaborate dance production routines and focuses, instead, on her alone, She is fresh, sensual, womanly and vulnerable as she reveals herself to the camera. We wanted to show this intimate and more personal side of Janet".[11]

The video begins with the shadows of Jackson and a dancer, leading to images of a man running through a desert. As she starts singing the song, accompanied by her love interest, a man doing stunts also appears. As the video advances, a black man is seen running in a large wheel, and also begins lip-synching to the song. He then appears on top of a white half circle. The video ends with Jackson sharing caresses with her lover. Calvin Thomas on his book Masculinity, Psychoanalysis, Straight Queer Theory noted a lightening of Jackson's skin tone and a notable transformation of the shape of her body in the music video.[12] Two versions of the video were produced, one in black-and-white, and the other colorized, both of which appear on the Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 video compilation.

The video won for Best Female Video and was nominated for Best Choreography and Best Art Direction at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. It ranked 13 on Rolling Stone's The 100 Top Music Videos, 72 on VH1's 100 Greatest Videos, and 88 on MTV's 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made. Britney Spears was inspired by the video for her "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know" clip, saying "he did Janet Jackson-remember when she made her comeback?" she says, alluding to Janet's makeover, which was orchestrated by Ritts when he directed her "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" video."[13] American recording artist Nicole Scherzinger revealed that she was inspired by the video for her "Your Love" clip.[14]

Live performances[edit]

Jackson has performed the song on most of her tours including the janet. Tour, The Velvet Rope Tour, All for You Tour, Rock Witchu Tour, Number Ones, Up Close and Personal, Unbreakable World Tour, and State of the World Tour. It was included on her 2019 Las Vegas Residency Janet Jackson: Metamorphosis.

Legacy[edit]

With the release of "Love Will Never Do (Without You)", Janet became the third woman in the chart's history to amass four number one hits from one album, following Paula Abdul and Whitney Houston.[15] Additionally the song's success gave her the distinction of being the only recording artist in the history of the chart to have seven commercial singles from one album peak within the top five positions, surpassing a record held by Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen.[16] Although released as a single in 1990, Pitchfork included it on their list of "The 200 Best Songs of the 1980s."[17]

Covers[edit]

Sally Yeh and Alex To covered the Cantonese version "信自己" (Believe Myself) in 1991 on Sally 14th album. Macy Gray sang the song live as a tribute to Jackson during MTV's MTV Icon special in 2001.[18] The song was recorded by Sahara Hotnights in 2009 on their album Sparks. Manilyn Reynes performed the song on the film, Kung sino pa ang minahal (1991). Carnie Wilson revealed to Billboard that while creating a song for a Trident commercial as a task for The New Celebrity Apprentice it was inspired by this song.[19]

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[57] Gold 500,000^

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref(s).
United States October 2, 1990
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • cassette
A&M [citation needed]
United Kingdom October 15, 1990
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
[58]
October 29, 1990 12-inch vinyl with patch and sticker [59]
Japan December 15, 1990
  • Mini-CD
  • maxi-CD
[60][61]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Lewis, Terry (February 28, 2011). "Love Will Never Do". www.musicnotes.com. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  5. ^ Healy, Andy (September 14, 2019). "Janet Jackson's 'Rhythm Nation 1814' Turns 30: Anniversary Retrospective". Albumism. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
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External links[edit]