The song was written & produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and released as the seventh single from the album on October 2, 1990.
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 Janet, "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.
In 1996, the song was remixed by Roger Sanchez. The Single Edit was included on the international release of Janet's 1996 greatest hits compilation album "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 Janet recorded the lead vocals in January of 1989. Herb Alpert plays trumpet on the track.
The video was directed by photographer Herb Ritts and choreographed by Ritts, Janet and Tina Landon on September 13, 1990.
Janet originally planned to wear a dress for the video, but Ritts envisioned her wearing a black top, a pair of jeans and blond hair.
The video features cameos by actors Antonio Sabàto, Jr. and Djimon Hounsou.
According to Ritts:
"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".
The video begins with the shadows of Janet 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 Janet sharing caresses with her lover. According to Calvin Thomas in his book "Masculinity, Psychoanalysis, Straight Queer Theory", he noted a lightening of Janet's skin tone and a notable transformation of the shape of her body in the music video.
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 "Best Female Video" and was nominated for "Best Choreography" and "Best Art Direction" at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.
It also ranked at #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.
Nicole Scherzinger revealed that she was inspired by the video for her "Your Love" clip.
"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" became Janet's fifth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, the final of seven top five singles from the album, making her the only artist to achieve seven top five singles from one album.
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" & "Black Cat" in 1990 and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" in 1991.
The single was certified Gold by the RIAA, but it achieved even greater airplay success, topping the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay for seven consecutive weeks, becoming the longest-running airplay number one single at the time.