What You Won't Do for Love (song)

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"What You Won't Do for Love"
What You Won't Do for Love by Bobby Caldwell heart-shaped US vinyl.jpg
U.S. red heart-shaped vinyl limited edition
Single by Bobby Caldwell
from the album Bobby Caldwell
B-side "Love Won't Wait"
Released December 1978
Recorded 1978
Length 4:45
Label Clouds (U.S.)
TK (international)
Songwriter(s) Bobby Caldwell, Alfons Kettner
Producer(s) Ann Holloway
Bobby Caldwell singles chronology
"What You Won't Do for Love"
"My Flame"

"What You Won't Do for Love"
"My Flame"

"What You Won't Do for Love" is a blue-eyed soul-styled single written by Bobby Caldwell with Alfons Kettner, which Caldwell recorded for his eponymous debut album, released in 1978 by Clouds Records domestically and by TK Records internationally.


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". The song's horn arrangement was written and recorded by 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 (Caucasian) 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 1979 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.


  • Bobby Caldwell – lead and backing vocals, keyboards
  • Benny Latimore – keyboards
  • Steve Mealy – guitar
  • Richie Valesquez – bass guitar
  • Harold Seay – drums

Chart history[edit]


Go West[edit]

Go West recorded a version on their 1992 album Indian Summer that was released as a single.

Year Song UK Singles chart US Billboard AC[10]
1993 "What You Won't Do For Love" 15 3
Year-end charts
Chart (1993) Position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[11] 100

Boyz II Men[edit]

The vocal group Boyz II Men released a cover of the song on their 2004 album Throwback, Vol. 1, featuring rapper MC Lyte.

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

Other cover versions[edit]

Elliott Yamin also performed the song as a contestant on American Idol Season 5 in 2006.

Barry Black also performed the song as a contestant on The Voice Season 5 in 2012.


"What You Won't Do for Love" has been sampled on the following songs, among others:


Songs with vocal interpolations of "What You Won't Do For Love" include the following:

Soundtrack appearances[edit]


  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. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 7 April 1979. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 4 May 1979. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  5. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  6. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, March 24, 1979
  7. ^ "Top 100 Singles (1979)". RPM. Retrieved 2017-07-29. 
  8. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  9. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 29, 1979
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 100. 
  11. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017. 
  12. ^ Video on YouTube
  13. ^ "Don't Get Crazy by Luciano | Album | Listen for Free on Myspace". Myspace.com. 1995-02-07. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  14. ^ Video on YouTube
  15. ^ Video on YouTube
  16. ^ Video on YouTube
  17. ^ "2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport TV Spot, 'New Beauty' Song Bobby Caldwell". iSpot.tv. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 

External links[edit]