If there is one pop song during the 1960's that musically embodies sex, it would likely be "The Look of Love," penned by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
The look of love
Is in your eyes
A look your smile can't disguise
The look of love
It's saying so much more
Than words could ever say
And what my heart has heard,
Well, it takes my breath away.
Although the Dusty Springfield single
only reached No. 22 on the American pop charts in 1967
(it was released as a B-side to her "Give Me Time
"), in the intervening years this slow tempo bossa nova
has become a pop classic, in no small part due to the music, which builds anticipation
and allows vocalists to express pure sensual longing
, freeing the song from any Austin Powers
s (Although its prominent appreance in the iconic 1960's comedy Casino Royale
would suggest condemning it to such a fate).
I can hardly wait to hold you
Feel my arms around you,
How long I have waited,
Waited just to love you,
Now that I have found you,
Don't ever go...
In his book High Fidelity, Nick Hornby contrasts the song's meaning of the "look of love" with reality's version:
That was what I thought it was all going to be like when I was married (I called it 'married' then--I call it "settled" or "sorted" now). I thought there was going to be this sexy woman with a sexy voice and lots of sexy eye makeup whose devotion to me shone from every pore. And there is such a thing as the look of love--Dusty didn't lead us up the garden path entirely--it's just that the look of love isn't what I expected it to be. It's not huge eyes almost bursting with longing situated somehwere in the middle of a double bed with covers turned down invitingly. It's just as likely to be the look of benevolent indulgence that a mother gives a toddler, or a look of amused exasperation, even a look of pained concern. But the Dusty Springfield look of love? Forget it. As mythical as the exotic underwear.
The song did crack the top ten in 1968, with a cover by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66. Over the years, the song has been covered by a number of pop artists (now relegated to the easy listening genre), including Dionne Warwick, Shirley Bassey, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Cleo Lane, Vic Damone, Gladys Knight, Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone, and Tony Bennett. Covers have also been made in various other genres: jazz (Stan Getz, Milt Jackson), latin (Willie Bobo), country (Chet Atkins), soul (Isaac Hayes), comedy (Paul Frees), and countless lounge variations (including Percy Faith, Billy May).