You need to read beyond the title on this one - it's not a chirpy love song, but about how to deal with it when love goes away. ABC lead singer Martin Fry told Uncut that this song is "genuinely about the moment you get your teeth kicked in by somebody you love f--king off. You feel like s--t but you have to search for some sort of meaning in your life."
A track from the group's first album, this was ABC's biggest hit in the UK, peaking at #4. It also topped the Canadian singles chart.
On the album, this song is listed as "The Look Of Love (Part One)," with the last track being a short version of the song called "The Look Of Love (Part Four)." What happened to parts two and three? They appear on the 12" single along with the others. Part Two is an instrumental, and Part Three is a remix.
Martin Fry mentions his forename in the lyric when he sings: "They say 'Martin, maybe, one day you'll find true love.'"
Trevor Horn, who was also involved with Yes, The Buggles and The Art Of Noise, produced this track. He also did a remix, "The Look of Love (Part 5)," using a Fairlight synthesizer. This 12-inch single, whic was issued to club DJs, may have been the first instance of a pop song being remixed with scratching and it was among the earliest remixes to be based upon samples.
MTV played a big role in ABC's American success, and the video for this song was a favorite on the network, which launched in 1981. The clip was directed by Brian Grant, and inspired by old Hollywood movies. Martin Fry describes it as a cross between An American In Paris
and The Benny Hill Show
. Grant's videos were all over MTV in those early years; his other work includes "Stand Back
" by Stevie Nicks and "Saved By Zero
" by The Fixx.
The band's appreciation of Smokey Robinson
is well documented, and Smokey had "the look of love" long before ABC. In his 1971 song "I Don't Blame You At All" (a #11 hit in the UK), he sings, "What I thought was the look of love was only hurt in disguise."
The lyrics were inspired by a real-life break-up Martin Fry had gone through. Trevor Horn is a notorious perfectionist; he insisted the female voice replying "goodbye" to Fry in the second verse should be sung by the actual woman in the relationship who had jilted him.