The Lexicon of Love

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The Lexicon of Love
Studio album by ABC
Released 21 June 1982 (1982-06-21)
Recorded 1981–82
Length 37:25
Label Neutron (UK)
Mercury (US)
Vertigo (Canada and Europe)
ABC chronology
The Lexicon of Love
Beauty Stab
Singles from The Lexicon of Love
  1. "Tears Are Not Enough"
    Released: 16 October 1981
  2. "Poison Arrow"
    Released: 5 February 1982
  3. "The Look of Love"
    Released: 7 May 1982
  4. "All of My Heart"
    Released: 27 August 1982
  5. "Valentine's Day"
    Released: 1982 [Japan-only release]

The Lexicon of Love is the debut studio album by the English new wave band ABC. It was originally released in June 1982, on the labels Neutron, Mercury and Vertigo. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number-one and has been certified Platinum by the BPI. The album features four UK Top 20 hit singles, including "Tears Are Not Enough", "Poison Arrow", "The Look of Love" and "All of My Heart".

Though not a concept album,[1] the album features repeated themes in which the singer experiences heartache as he tries and fails to have a meaningful relationship. A longform music video/film, Mantrap, featuring songs from the album was released in 1983.

Recording and release dates[edit]

The album was produced by Trevor Horn, engineered by Gary Langan and featured orchestrations by Anne Dudley and Fairlight CMI programming by J. J. Jeczalik; Horn, Langan, Dudley and Jeczalik would later form the Art of Noise a year after the release of this album. Indeed, most of the production team and session players listed below would form the basis for the ZTT label, and their work with Horn meant all concerned would be in constant demand throughout the industry in years to come.

"Tears Are Not Enough" (in its initial release produced by Steve Brown), "All of My Heart", "Poison Arrow" and "The Look of Love (Part One)" were all Top 20 hits in the UK; the latter two also charted in the US, peaking at No. 25 and No. 14, respectively. The album reached No. 1 on the UK charts and peaked at No. 24 in the US charts.

In 2004, a deluxe 2-disc reissue including previously unreleased outtakes and early demos and a live performance of the album from 1982 was released on the Neutron label.

In 2009, ABC performed the album integrally at the Royal Albert Hall in London, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by arranger and composer Anne Dudley. They were joined onstage by the album's producer Trevor Horn.[2]

The Lexicon of Love was again performed live in its entirety on 18 December 2012 at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This marked the 30th anniversary of the album's release and once again featured Dudley as conductor, performing with the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra. The same line-up (with Dudley and Southbank Sinfonia) concluded a four-date mini-tour at this same venue on 30 March 2014 performing the album in its entirety. Martin Fry and band were once more accompanied by the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra for dates at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sheffield City Hall, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham, between November 4th and 9th, 2015.

In April 2016, a sequel album The Lexicon of Love II was released on 27 May 2016.[3]

Critical acclaim[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[4]
Blender 4/5 stars[5]
Christgau's Record Guide A−[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[7]
Mojo 4/5 stars[8]
Q 5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[11]
Select 4/5[12]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[13]
  • NME listed it number 15 on its list of 50 albums of the 80s.
  • NME listed it number 3 on its list of 50 albums of the year 1982.
  • Uncut listed It number 52 on its list of 100 greatest debut albums.
  • Mojo listed it in its list of 9 albums of the year 1982.
  • The Village Voice listed it number 19 on its list of 20 albums of the year 1982.
  • Q magazine listed it number 40 on its list of the 100 greatest British albums ever.
  • Q magazine readers voted The Lexicon of Love the 92nd greatest album of all time.
  • The Observer Music Monthly listed it number 42 on its list "Top 100 British Albums".
  • Mentioned in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Martin Fry, Mark White, Stephen Singleton and David Palmer, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Show Me"   4:02
2. "Poison Arrow"
3. "Many Happy Returns"   3:56
4. "Tears Are Not Enough"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • David Robinson
5. "Valentine's Day"   3:42
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "The Look of Love" (Part One)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
7. "Date Stamp"   3:51
8. "All of My Heart"   5:12
9. "4 Ever 2 Gether"
10. "The Look of Love" (Part Four)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
Total length: 37:25
Additional track listings


Additional personnel
Production team
2004 deluxe edition credits
  • Gary Moore – digital remastering
  • Daryl Easlea – album coordinator; compiler
  • Martin Fry – compiler
  • Deluxe Graphics@Green Ink – artwork restoration; adaption

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1982–1983) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart[14] 9
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[15][16] 3
Dutch Mega Albums Chart[17] 16
Finnish Albums Chart[citation needed] 1
Japanese Oricon LP Chart[citation needed] 17
New Zealand Albums Chart[18] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[19] 13
Swiss Albums Chart[20] 3
UK Albums Chart[21] 1
US Billboard 200[22] 24
West German Media Control Albums Chart[23] 23


  1. ^ "BBC 6 Music interview with Martin Fry". Radcliffe and Maconie (Interview). Interview with Stuart Maconie. 
  2. ^ "ABC and The BBC Concert Orchestra present The Lexicon of Love". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "ABC to release The Lexicon of Love II". Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "The Lexicon of Love – ABC". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Himmelsbach, Erik. "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Blender. Archived from the original on 15 December 2003. Retrieved 5 July 2016. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  8. ^ "ABC – The Lexicon of Love CD". CD Universe. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Q (360): 117. July 2016. 
  10. ^ Fricke, David (16 September 1982). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Rolling Stone (378). ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 2. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  12. ^ Harrison, Ian (May 1996). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Select (71): 102. 
  13. ^ Weisbard & Marks 1995, p. 4
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 10. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  15. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Hung, Steffen. "ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  18. ^ Hung, Steffen. "ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  19. ^ Hung, Steffen. "ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Hung, Steffen. "ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "The Official Charts Company – The Lexicon of Love by ABC Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. 
  22. ^ ABC. "ABC – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  23. ^ "". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  • Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Avalon by Roxy Music
UK Albums Chart number one album
3 July 1982 – 17 July 1982
Succeeded by
Fame, Original Soundtrack by Michael Gore