The Look Of Love
by ABC

Album: The Lexicon of Love (1982)
Charted: 4 18

Songfacts®:

  • 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.

Comments: 6

  • Ryan from N.y.This song is in a movie but I can’t recall which one, and it’s bugging me. Feel like it was at the end of the movie when the camera pans off to the horizon right before the credits roll. I’m sure I’ll see the movie again at some point and will realize it when it happens, for now it’s gonna bug me.
  • Donna from Quincy MaI always wondered if ABC was influenced by the Jordache Jeans commercial that was popular in that same era. In that commercial, it has a line that says "Who's got the look?" And in "The Look of Love," they say it exactly as it was said in the commercial. I thought it was a clever pop culture reference, and I wish there were a way to ask Martin about that!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 23rd 1982, ABC performed "The Look of Love" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #42 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on January 2nd, 1983 it peaked at #18 {for 3 weeks} and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 {25 weeks}...
    And on December 12th, 1982 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart...
    Between 1982 to 1987 the British quartet had seven Top 100 records; with two making the Top 10, "Be Near Me" peaked at #9 in 1985 and "When Smokey Sings" reached #5 in 1987.
  • Michael from Santa Cruz, CaSorry,need to revise!.add to my list "The Human League--Dare!".How could I forget that!?!
  • Michael from Santa Cruz, CaMy personal favorite british pop albums of the 80's were the following: "ABC--The Lexicon Of Love" "Soft Cell--Non-Stop Erotic Caberet" "Heaven 17--Penthouse & Pavement","Heaven 17--The Luxury Gap","Gary Numan--Telekon" & "Altered Images--Pinky Blue".The opening orchestra bit on ABC's album is one my all-time musical moments.Play it LOUD!
  • Vicki from Chicago, Ilawesome song!
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