Gene Pitney

It Hurts to Be in Love

Composed by Helen Miller / Howard Greenfield

Song Review by

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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1965 2:34
I'm Gonna Be Strong 1965 Stateside Distribution 2:34
Looking Through the Eyes of Love 1966 Object Enterprises
No Image 1966 Musicor 2:34
The Best of Gene Pitney [K-Tel] 1969 K-Tel Distribution 2:34
No Image 1971 Musicor 2:34
Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart 1975 Black Box
20 Great Hits 1976 Movieplay Music 2:34
No Image 1985 MCI / DJ Specialist 2:32
Anthology 1961-1968 1986 Rhino 2:37
20 Great Hits of 1964 1988
Various Artists
Deluxe 2:36
Greatest Hits [CBS] 1989 CBS Records 2:28
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Golden Classics 1991 Collectables 2:41
Hits From the 60s [1991] 1991
Various Artists
Richmond 2:29
Mr. Hitmaker 1992 Classic Hits 2:33
The Brill Building Sound 1993
Various Artists
Era Records 2:34
Hits from 1965 [Hollywood] 1994
Various Artists
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:31
American Jukebox Classics, Vol. 1: Love Hurts 1995
Various Artists
Sterling Gold 2:28
Greatest Hits [Curb] 1995 Curb 2:33
No Image 1995 Rhino
Ultimate Anthology 1995 One Way Records
Golden Hits 1996 Intercontinental Records 2:35
Only Rock 'N Roll 1960-1964: #1 Radio Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 2:34
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 [Golden Stars] 1996 Golden Stars 2:35
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 1996 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / Pilz
Love Songs: When a Man Loves a Woman 1996
Various Artists
I'm Gonna Be Strong/Looking Through the Eyes of Love 1997 RPM Retrodisc 2:34
Hits to Remember, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Galaxy Music 2:32
The Number Ones: Hot in the 60's 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 2:34
Original Jukebox Hits 1998
Various Artists
Empire Super Doubles 2:32
No Image 1998 Federal Records
22 Greatest Hits (Highland) 1998 Highland Music 2:35
25 All-Time Greatest Hits 1999 Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:33
The Definitive Collection 1999 Charly Records 2:33
Millennium Box Set 1999
Various Artists
Disky 2:33
Gene Pitney [Magic Collection] 2000 2:34
Looking Through: The Ultimate Collection 2000 Sequel 2:33
Juke Box Heroes: A Moment of Love 2000
Various Artists
Scopus 2:30
The Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution 2:34
Mega 60's 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:30
Teenage Idols [4 Discs] 2001
Various Artists
Disky Communications 2:34
Teenage Idols [CD #3] 2001
Various Artists
Disky 2:34
Absolutely the Best of the Sixties 2002
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:32
The Great Pretender 2002 Disky 2:34
The Very Best of Gene Pitney: I'm Gonna Be Strong 2002 B.R. 2:34
Then: Totally Oldies, Vol. 4 2002
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:34
Golden Oldies, Vol. 8 [Original Sound 2002] 2002
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:31
Thirty Six Pop Memories 2003 Excellence
The Best Of Gene Pitney [Forever Gold] 2003 Forever Gold (Allegiance) / Weton 2:32
Rock and Roll at Fifty: A Galaxy of Hits from Rock's First Decade 2003
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:32
18 All Time Greatest Hits 2004 Teevee Records 2:35
Big Twenty: All the UK Top 40 Hits 1961-73 2004 Ace 2:34
Rock & Roll: The First 50 Years - The Mid-'60s 2004
Various Artists
Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:36
Love Grows 2005 Sanctuary 2:33
Early 60's 2005
Various Artists
Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart: The Collection 2005 Music Deluxe (UK) / Demon 2:33
Ultimate 60's Collection [Fuel 2000] 2005
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:32
The Very Best of Gene Pitney [Crimson] 2005 Crimson Productions 2:30
No Image 2006 Golden Greats
Superstar Series 2006 Payless 2:31
Bada Bing! Music Heard on the Sopranos 2007
Original Soundtrack
Golden Stars 2:33
Legend 2008 Demon Records / Music Club Records 2:31
Golden Love Songs [Greatest Collection] 2008
Various Artists
Greatest Collection
The Best of Gene Pitney [Collectables] 2008 Collectables 2:34
Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart [Start] 2009 Music / Music Club Records
Jukebox Hits 2009
Various Artists
Luxury Multimedia 2:24
Where the Boys Are: The Songs of Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield 2011
Various Artists
Ace 2:34
No Image Bescol
24 Hours From Tulsa Sanctuary
No Image Fourmatt 2:32
Juke Box Heroes
Various Artists
Scopus 2:30
Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame, Vol. 5: Leader of the Pack
Various Artists
Legacy 2:34
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:35
blue highlight denotes editor's pick