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"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" is a song recorded by American singer Janet Jackson, recorded for her fourth studio album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). It was written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The song was released as the seventh single from the album on October 2, 1990, by A&M Records. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week and the Radio & Records airplay chart for three weeks. Pitchfork included the song on their "The 200 Best Songs of the 1980s" list at number 27.[1]

"Love Will Never Do (Without You)"
Janet Jackson Love Will Never Do Without You.png
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814
  • "You Need Me"
  • "The 1814 Megamix"
ReleasedOctober 2, 1990 (1990-10-02)
Recorded1988–1989; Flyte Tyme Studios
(Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Length5:50 (album version/video mix)
4:35 (radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
  • Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Black Cat"
"Love Will Never Do (Without You)"
"State of the World"

Background and compositionEdit

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.[2]

In 1996, the song was remixed by Roger Sanchez. The Single Edit was included on the international release of Jackson's 1996 greatest hits compilation Design of a Decade: 1986–1996. 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.[3]

"Love Will Never Do" is written in the key of A major and has a tempo of 103 beats per minute[4] in common time. Jackson's vocals span from F3 to C6 in the song.[5]

Music videoEdit

The video was directed by 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.[6] 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".[7]

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.[8] 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."[9] American recording artist Nicole Scherzinger revealed that she was inspired by the video for her "Your Love" clip.[10]

Chart performanceEdit

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.[11] The success of "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" also helped the album to become the only one 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[12].

Live performancesEdit

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.


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.[13] 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.[14]

Track listingsEdit

Official versions/remixesEdit



  1. ^
  2. ^ The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, p. 785, at Google Books
  3. ^ "Janet Jackson – Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814". Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  4. ^ "BPM for 'love will never do' by janet jackson |". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  5. ^ Lewis, Terry. "Love Will Never Do". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  6. ^ Jackson, Janet (2011), True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself, Simon & Schuster, p. 122, ISBN 978-1-4165-8724-8
  7. ^ Jet 10 dec. 1990, p. 36, at Google Books
  8. ^ Masculinity, Psychoanalysis, Straight Queer Theory, p. 13, at Google Books
  9. ^ "21st Century Girl". Teen People. 2000. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  10. ^ Corner, Lewis (June 21, 2014). "Nicole Scherzinger interview: 'I've scrapped five whole albums'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Janet Jackson Love Will Never Do (Without You) Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  13. ^ Murphy, Gayl (2001-03-12). "MTV Names Janet Jackson an Icon". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  14. ^ Angermiller, Michele (2017-01-04). "Carnie Wilson Talks 'Celebrity Apprentice' Firing & Mariah Carey's New Year's Eve Flub". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  15. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  16. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  17. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  18. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  19. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  20. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  21. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  22. ^ Janet Jackson Love Will Never Do USA Promo 5" CD SINGLE (88951)
  23. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  24. ^ Janet Jackson Love Will Never Do Without You Japan 3" CD SINGLE (10765)
  25. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You) (The Remixes)
  26. ^ Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You) ('96 Mixes)
  27. ^ a b "Janet Jackson – Love Will Never Do (Without You) –". Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  28. ^ "Janet Jackson – Love Will Never Do (Without You) – Weekly Magazine". Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  29. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 4 – 1991". Radio 538 (in Dutch). Top 40. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  30. ^ "The Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  31. ^ "Song artist 26 - Janet Jackson". TSort. Archived from the original on July 24, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  32. ^ "RISA - The Most Successful American Divas". RISA. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  33. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Janet Jackson – Love Will Never Do (Without You)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  34. ^ "Rhythm Nation 1814 > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  35. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  36. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  37. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  38. ^ "Top 100 Songs AMR 1991". AMR. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Archived from the original on 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  41. ^ "Janet Jackson's most downloaded songs in the U.S." JNTSRB. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  42. ^ "American single certifications – Janet Jackson – Love Will Never Do (Without You)". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit