Lookin' for Love

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For other songs with similar titles, see Looking for Love (disambiguation).
"Lookin' for Love"
Single by Johnny Lee
from the album Urban Cowboy soundtrack
B-side "Lyin' Eyes"
(by The Eagles)
Released June 30, 1980
Format 7"
Recorded 1980
Genre Country
Length 3:37
Label Full Moon 47004
Writer(s) Wanda Mallette, Bob Morrison and Patti Ryan
Producer(s) John Boylan
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Johnny Lee singles chronology
"This Time"
"Lookin' for Love"
"One in a Million"

"Lookin' for Love" is a song written by Wanda Mallette, Bob Morrison and Patti Ryan, and recorded by American country music singer Johnny Lee. It released in June 1980 as part of the soundtrack to the film Urban Cowboy, released that year.

My name is Bob Morrison and here is the story of how “Lookin’ For Love” came about. Wanda Mallette was looking for a universal song idea when she thought of the title "Lookin' For Love In All The Wrong Places" from observing some of her second grade students. She and Patti Ryan, schoolteachers at the time in Gulfport Mississippi, wrote “Looking For Love” and made a rough cassette demo and sent it to me at Combine Music in Nashville, Tennessee where I was a staff writer. I knew Patti Ryan from Biloxi, MS my home town. I listened to the tape and felt the song had potential but also felt there were a couple of places it could be improved. I spoke with Patti and Wanda and they agreed to my making the changes. Combine did a studio demo—and started to pitch the song. There were no takers. 21 artists turned it down in Nashville. A friend in LA, an agent, called me one day and said Paramount was filming a “country-western musical,” did I have anything I’d like to pitch? I sent him among two others, “Lookin’ for Love”. He later told me he put it in the bushel basket with all the other tapes that had been sent in. I didn’t hear anything for a couple of weeks and figured it was another rejection. Then the call came in from Urban Cowboy’s musical director and I was told the song would be the centerpiece of the movie. The rest is history.[citation needed]

Lee's rise to fame[edit]

Lee whose biggest hit to date had been a 1977 cover of Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party" had previously been one of the main nightclub acts at Gilley's, a nightclub owned by country music superstar Mickey Gilley. Record executive Irving Azoff offered Lee the chance to record "Lookin' For Love," a song that 20-plus artists had rejected.[1]

Critics were not kind to Lee nor the song. Country music historian Bill Malone once noted that "Lookin' for Love" — in his words, a "lilting little pop song" — became the featured song of Urban Cowboy and a huge commercial hit largely because "actor John Travolta (the movie's co-star) expressed a liking for it." [2] Critic Kurt Wolff panned the song as an example of "watered-down cowboy music."[3]

Public reaction was much better. "Lookin' for Love" rose to No. 1 (for a three-week stay) on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart, and became a No. 5 Billboard Hot 100 hit as well.

"Lookin' for Love" was certified gold for sales of 1 million units by the Recording Industry Association of America.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 5
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 18
Canadian RPM Top Singles 54
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 20


The song was performed by Johnny Lee in an episode of "Chips".

Cover versions, parodies and tributes[edit]

Country music group Sawyer Brown recorded a cover of the song on the 2000 album The Hits Live. This version peaked at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The song is also featured in the classic Saturday Night Live sketch Buh-Weet Sings, in which Buckwheat from Our Gang (played by Eddie Murphy) sings the song as "Wookin Pa Nub".

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" is titled in tribute to this song ("par'Mach" is defined in the episode as "the Klingon word for love, but with more aggressive overtones").[5]

Al Lowe `s second Leisure Suit Larry game is named after the song :) [6]



  1. ^ allmusicguide.com
  2. ^ Malone, Bill, "Country Music U.S.A," 2nd rev. ed. (University of Texas Press, Austin, 2002), p.371.
  3. ^ Wolff, Kurt, "Country Music: The Rough Guide," Rough Guides Ltd., London; Penguin Putnam, New York, distributor. p. 424 (ISBN 1-85828-534-8)
  4. ^ riaa.com
  5. ^ Erdman, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. New York: Pocket Books. p. 377. ISBN 0-671-50106-2. 
  6. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_Suit_Larry_Goes_Looking_for_Love_%28in_Several_Wrong_Places%29

Other sources[edit]

Preceded by
"Cowboys and Clowns"
by Ronnie Milsap
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

September 6-September 20, 1980
Succeeded by
"Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You"
by Dolly Parton