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"
ReleasedOctober 1978
3:30 (single version)
LabelClouds (U.S.)
TK (international)
  • 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" is a blue-eyed soul-styled song by American singer-songwriter Bobby Caldwell. It was released in October 1978 as the lead single from his eponymous debut album, Bobby Caldwell (1978). It was written by Caldwell and Alfons Kettner, and produced by Ann Holloway.

Background and release[edit]

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 his debut album'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 their best to hide Caldwell's racial identity, hoping not to alienate their predominantly Black audience. However, when Caldwell began making performances live on stage, demand only increased.

Chart performance[edit]

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 No. 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]


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

Chart history[edit]


Go West[edit]

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

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[10] 12
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[11] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[12] 52
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 15
US Hot 100 (Billboard)[14] 55
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) [15] 3
Year-end charts
Chart (1993) Rank
Canada Top Singles (RPM) [16] 100
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) [17] 54

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.

Chart (2004) Peak
US Hot R&B Singles (Billboard) [18] 60

Commercial use & samples[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. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1993-05-06. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1993-06-12. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  12. ^ "Musicline.de – Go West Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  13. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  14. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 100.
  16. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  17. ^ http://www.musicvf.com/top_ac_songs_of_1993
  18. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 100.
  19. ^ "2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport TV Spot, 'New Beauty' Song Bobby Caldwell". iSpot.tv. Retrieved 26 October 2013.

External links[edit]