Among the major 1960s pop/rock singers, it could be fairly said that Gene Pitney often leaned more toward pop than toward rock. He could rock solidly when so inclined, though, and "It Hurts to Be in Love" was about as close as any of his major hits came to straight-ahead rock & roll. No overarching strings, mariachi horns, or heaven-sized choirs here, the accent instead falling on a thick foot-stomping beat and shrill organ. It was Gene Pitney, though, so it was indeed filled to the gills with agonized romantic confusion and a touch of self-pity. There's a muted Phil Spector feel to the production, including the thundering descending drum rolls that kick off the song and punctuate the vocals at various strategic points. There are also handclaps, multi-tracked vocals, and sympathetic female backup harmonies to add full force. But most of all, there's one of Pitney's most hook-happy melodies, both on the verse and the compact bridge. What might set this aside from many a Pitney tune, aside from its rock-oriented arrangement, is a sense of forward drive and steady up-tempo beat, even if the melody has suitable moody hints of doubt and sadness. Unlike many Pitney songs, this was something that you could actually dance to, though the downcast sentiments of the song -- he's in love with a girl who thinks of him only as a friend, a situation that could almost universally be identified with -- were not compromised. Those sentiments were expressed with enough fervor that they were ripe for satire decades later by Saturday Night Live-type comedy sketches. But "It Hurts to Be in Love" endures as one of Pitney's best records, and one of his highest selling, making the Top Ten in 1964.