The Look of Love (ABC song)

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"The Look of Love"
Look of Love ABC.jpg
Single by ABC
from the album The Lexicon of Love
A-side"The Look of Love (Part One)"
  • "The Look of Love (Part Two)"
  • "Theme from Mantrap" (US)
  • 7 May 1982
  • August, 1982 (US)
Producer(s)Trevor Horn
ABC singles chronology
"Poison Arrow"
"The Look of Love"
"All of My Heart"
Music video
"The Look of Love" on YouTube

"The Look of Love" is a song by English band ABC, released as a single in 1982. It was the band's highest charting hit in the UK, peaking at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. It was included on their debut studio album, The Lexicon of Love.


Released as a single and as a 12" remix, it went to No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Disco chart as well as the Canadian Singles Chart. It was their biggest hit in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 4. On the American Cash Box Top 100, it got as high as No. 9, and on the Billboard Hot 100 it peaked at No. 18.[3]

The single consists of four parts, referred to as "Parts One, Two, Three and Four". Part One is the standard album version, Part Two is an instrumental version, Part Three is a vocal version without the orchestral overdubs and Part Four is a short acoustic instrumental part of the song, containing strings and horns, as well as occasional harp plucks and xylophone. A different US remix dub version by producer Trevor Horn appeared as A-side on the 1982 US 12".

The '82 US remix dub version was not widely available after its initial release, but the track remained much in demand by club DJs and fans alike and copies of the original 12" version fetched high prices. When Neutron (the band's UK label) discovered this, they issued a limited edition DJ-pressing of the Horn remix in November 1982 as a DJ promo 12" vinyl under the title "ABC Look of Love Special Remix 12" Neutron NTXDJ103.

Through the 1980s, BBC Radio 1 DJ Gary Davies used the last crescendo on Part 2 of the song as a closing theme to his daily lunchtime programme called The Bit in the Middle, only changing it in 1991 when his show was rebranded as Let's Do Lunch and given fresh music beds and themes.

The US B-side, entitled "Theme from Mantrap", was an alternate version of "Poison Arrow".

In February 2014, all four parts appeared together as one single track (running 12:29) on the ZTT compilation "The Art of the 12" Volume Three".

The lyrics of the song, as well as others on The Lexicon of Love, were inspired by a break-up lead singer Martin Fry had experienced. In the second verse, during the phrase "When your girl has left you out on the pavement", the "Goodbye" background vocal is spoken by the actual woman in the relationship who had jilted him.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song, taped on a soundstage, was influenced by old British music hall, the chalk pavement sequence in the film Mary Poppins, carnival sideshows, and Punch and Judy puppet shows; the four band members were featured wearing Edwardian-style light suits with vertical pastel stripes, accompanied by many colourful extras, including a Charlie Chaplin impersonator and cameos from producer Trevor Horn and music promoter and journalist Paul Morley. The video vaguely pays homage to the ballet sequence from An American in Paris.


Year Publisher Country Accolade Rank
1982 NME United Kingdom "Singles of the Year" (50)[5] 5
1982 Sounds United Kingdom "Singles of the Year" (20)[6] 18
1982 The Village Voice United States "Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll: Top 10 Singles"[7] 9
2003 Paul Morley United Kingdom "Greatest Pop Single of All Time"[8] *
2005 Q United Kingdom "Ultimate Music Collection" (Pop Tracks)[9] *
2006 VH1 United States "100 Greatest Songs of the 80's"[10] 43
2009 The Guardian United Kingdom "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear" (Love)[11] *
2010 Pause & Play United States "Vault Of Fame" (Songs)[12] *
2011 NME United Kingdom "75 Tunes That Defined Rock 'N' Roll" (Deep Cuts)[13] *
2011 Robert Dimery United Kingdom "1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die"[14] *
??? The Village Voice United States "Top Singles Of The 80's" (100)[15] 59

(*) indicates the list is unordered.

Chart performance and certifications[edit]

Original release[edit]

1983 re-issue[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 71

The Look of Love (1990 Mix)[edit]

"The Look of Love (1990 Mix)"
The Look of Love 90.jpg
Single by ABC
from the album Absolutely
  • Martin Fry
  • Mark White
  • Stephen Singleton
  • David Palmer
  • Mark Lickley
Producer(s)Trevor Horn
ABC singles chronology
"The Real Thing"
"The Look of Love (1990 Mix)"
"Love Conquers All"

In 1990, to promote the compilation album Absolutely, a new remix of the song by Paul Staveley O'Duffy was officially released, though without participation or approval from the band's members. The remix incorporates part of the melody from Kraftwerk's "Computer Love", which had been in the UK Top 40 at the same time as the original release of "The Look of Love" in 1982.


Chart (1990) Peak
Germany (Media Control Charts)[34] 31
Ireland (IRMA)[20] 30
New Zealand (RIANZ)[35] 44
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[36] 68

Cover versions[edit]

In 1996, Euro band Eclipse released a dance cover version, which reached No. 30 on the Australian charts.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tucker, Ken (11 February 1983). "Invasion warning (Adam Ant's on his way)". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "ABC – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "ABC – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  4. ^ Jamieson, Teddy (21 October 2013). "Not Fade Away 1982: the Look of Love, by ABC and Party Fears Two, by the Associates". The Herald. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  5. ^ "NME Singles 1982". NME. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Sounds End Of Year Lists > 1982: Singles". Sounds. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  7. ^ "The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll: Top 10 Singles By Year, 1979-2013". The Village Voice. Pazz & Jop. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Paul Morley". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  9. ^ "The Q Ultimate Music Collection". Q. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  10. ^ "VH1: '100 Greatest Songs of the 80's': 1-50". VH1. Rock On The Net. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Series: 1000 songs everyone must hear – Part one: Love". The Guardian. 14 March 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  12. ^ The Songs at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 May 2011). Pause & Play.
  13. ^ "NME: 75 Tunes That Defined Rock 'N' Roll". NME. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  14. ^ Dimery, Robert (2011). 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die. Octopus Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-8440-3717-9.
  15. ^ "Village Voice Top Albums & Singles Of The 80's & 90's". The Village Voice. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 10. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ " – ABC – The Look Of Love" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6928." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  19. ^ " – ABC – The Look Of Love". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  20. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Look of Love". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – ABC" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  22. ^ " – ABC – The Look Of Love" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  23. ^ " – ABC – The Look Of Love". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  24. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  25. ^ " – ABC – The Look Of Love". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  27. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – DECEMBER 25, 1982". Cash Box. 21 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012.
  28. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1982". Kent Music Report. 3 January 1983. Retrieved 1 January 2020 – via Imgur.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 82". RPM. Vol. 37 no. 19. Library and Archives Canada. 25 December 1982. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  30. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1982". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012.
  31. ^ "Canadian single certifications – ABC – The Look of Love". Music Canada.
  32. ^ "British single certifications – The Look of Love". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type The Look of Love in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  34. ^ "Single – ABC, The Look of Love 1990 Mix". GfK Entertainment. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
  35. ^ " – ABC – The Look Of Love 1990 Mix". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  36. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  37. ^ " – Eclipse – The Look Of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 July 2013.

External links[edit]