Lesley Gore

Look of Love

Composed by Jeff Barry / Ellie Greenwich

Song Review by

Teenage pop singer Lesley Gore released four singles in 1963 that made the Top Ten. In 1964, she charted with five singles, but in the face of the British Invasion, the charts were more of a struggle for her. "Look of Love," released in December, was her final effort for the year. The song was written by Brill Building pop veterans Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and it concerned a common subject for Gore, the ups and downs of teen love affairs. The singer is gazing at a couple whose male member is a former boyfriend of hers; now he has the "look of love" for his new girl. The singer remembers her former relationship with him now that she's all alone and finds she can't restrain herself from crying. Of course, this is the same territory covered in Gore's initial hit, "It's My Party." But "Look of Love" has an upbeat feel that belies the subject matter, and the lyrics place much greater emphasis on the old boyfriend's new infatuation than on the observer's reaction to it, which comes up only in the bridge after a couple of verses and choruses have gone by. Nor does Gore's confident vocal performance dwell much on heartbreak; maybe, at 18 and about to start college, she was getting too mature for such youthful sentiments. In any case, "Look of Love" is more wistful than angry. Claus Ogermann's arrangement and Quincy Jones' production gave the record a full sound, the prominent jingle bell percussion evoking the Christmas season and adding to the song's bright appeal. But Brill Building efforts like "Look of Love" had become a harder sell as the British Invasion approached its first birthday; the record managed to return Gore to the Top 20 following the disappointing "Hey Now," but her days in the Top Ten were over. The song's early-'60s style has tended to limit its long-term exposure to Lesley Gore compilations and other anthologies, but there is also a complicating factor: There have been several songs with a similar title ("The Look of Love"), one of which has gone on to become a standard. Frank Sinatra's personal songwriters, Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, penned a song called "The Look of Love" that was reminiscent of their effervescent "Walking Happy" (long-since written but not yet published at that point), which Sinatra recorded in 1962 and finally put on his Softly, As I Leave You album, released just before Gore's "Look of Love" single was issued in late 1964. In 1982, British synth pop group ABC released their own "The Look of Love (Part One)" (music and lyrics by Martin Fry, Mark Lickley, Stephen Singleton, and David Palmer), which became a Top 20 hit. But the most successful song called "The Look of Love" was the sexy ballad written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1967 film Casino Royale. Introduced by Dusty Springfield, it actually did not chart as high as the Gore or ABC songs, but it earned an Academy Award nomination and was recorded upwards of 100 times.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Girl Talk 1964 Ace 2:02
The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore 1965 Mercury 2:08
No Image 1986 Rhino
It's My Party 1991 Special Music 2:08
The Brill Building Sound 1993
Various Artists
Era Records 2:08
It's My Party! 1994 Bear Family Records 2:04
Growin' Up Too Fast: The Girl Group Anthology 1996
Various Artists
Mercury / PolyGram 1:59
It's My Party: The Mercury Anthology 1996 Mercury 1:57
Start the Party Again 1997 Raven 2:08
Best of Lesley Gore [PSM] 1998 Universal Special Products / PSM 2:11
Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows: The Best of Lesley Gore 1998 Rhino 1:59
The Essential Collection 2001 Karussell 1:57
The Ultimate Collection 1963-1968: Start the Party Again 2005 Raven 2:02
Phil's Spectre, Vol. 3: Third Wall of Soundalikes 2007
Various Artists
Ace 2:00
Hits & Rarities 1964-1969 2011 Teensville 2:12
Da Doo Ron Ron: More from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook 2012
Various Artists
Ace 2:02