"All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You" was a success, spending two weeks at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 (kept from the top spot by Madonna's "Vogue"), peaking at number eight in the UK Singles Chart, and reaching #1 in Canada and Australia. It reached #1 in Sweden in May 12, 1990. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Group Pop Vocal Performance, and is the only one of Heart's singles to have been certified Gold by the RIAA. On the Adult Contemporary chart, the song climbed to number six, becoming the third of Heart's four top-ten AC hits (after "These Dreams" and "Alone").
The single is Heart's last pop chart top ten hit in the US to date. The band had one more top ten Adult Contemporary chart hit with the follow-up, "Stranded"; "Stranded" and two singles from 1994's Desire Walks On ("Black on Black II" and "Will You Be There (In The Morning)") were also top 10 Album Rock chart hits.
In the liner notes of Heart's album The Road Home, Ann Wilson commented on the band's dislike for the song, stating, "Actually we had sworn off it because it kind of stood for everything we wanted to get away from. It was a song by "Mutt" Lange, who we liked, and it was originally written for Don Henley, but there was a lot of pressure on us to do the song at the time." Ann Wilson has made a number of comments on her dislike for the song, calling the song's message "hideous" in an interview with Dan Rather. In that same interview, Ann mentions that she's surprised at how many of their fans, especially in Australia and New Zealand, want to hear the song to this day when Heart plays live (Heart does not perform it live anymore despite the requests).
The original song as recorded by Dobie Gray was a love song without a storyline, unlike the later version by Heart.
In the Heart version of the song, singer Ann Wilson sings of a one-night stand with a handsome young male hitchhiker. After an implicit agreement to remain anonymous, they make their way to a hotel room in which to have sexual intercourse. The lyrics make the suggestion that this may not be the first time the female protagonist has engaged in such behaviors, noting her familiarity with this particular hotel. The song explicitly highlights the sexual prowess of the young man, and his ability to easily and repeatedly bring the female protagonist to orgasm. She leaves a note with instructions for the man to make no attempt to contact her or track her down. It is subsequently revealed that her intent all along was to use the encounter as a way to become pregnant. The lyrics explain later, when she accidentally crosses paths with the one-time lover, that her baby is the result of their tryst and she did it only because the man she is in love with is not able to father children.