Dusty Springfield, “The Look of Love” and Late ’60s Movies

I’ve decided that I might as well rename this blog A Nostalgic Journey Through the Works of Burt Bacharach, January to December 1967, as yet again I have found myself troubled by a pesky earworm from that year. All day yesterday I had the first few lines of The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield going round and round in my head but wasn’t sure where it had come from. I was pretty sure I hadn’t heard it on the radio or on television but here I was yet again revisiting my seemingly favourite year and favourite composer.


The Look of Love, by Burt Bacharach and Hal David featured in the 1967 spoof James Bond film Casino Royale. Here is the scene in the movie where it appears and between Dusty’s husky vocals, the slow motion filming and the saxophone playing, Peter Sellers looks as if he is in for quite a time with Ursula Andress (the original Bond girl – Honey Ryder).

The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield:

Of all the songs featured in this blog, 1967 is the year I seem to keep coming back to and after thinking about it a bit more I have come up with a few reasons as to why that might be happening.

First of all I was only six at the start of ’67, so most of my personal musical memories are from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s (post turn-of-the-millennium is still classed as “new” music for me). My point is, there are many songs from the ’60s that are still fresh for me, as I haven’t yet reached the tipping point of having heard them just once too often. (Sadly the exception to that rule is now the song Alfie – After undertaking this project I hope I never, ever, have to listen to it again.)

Secondly, when you are six (just like in the world of A.A. Milne) you have no exam, work, money or relationship worries, so none of the songs from that era conjure up any unpleasant memories. If you were lucky like me and came from a stable family where you were loved and taken care of, life was sweet – The days of teenage angst were far off in the future.

Thirdly (is that even a word), the radio stations I now listen to (briefly in the morning when I get up, and when in the car) generally play older music so I am much more likely to hear something by Burt Bacharach than by Tame Impala in the course of the day, setting off one of those pesky earworms (although to be fair not pesky in the case of this song, more pleasurable).

Fourth, I am truly amazed at the sheer number of musical sub-genres, and in the last couple of weeks alone I have covered songs from the sunshine pop, baroque pop and champagne soul camps. Burt’s music was apparently from the orchestral pop camp and of the many sub-genres out there, I think this is the one I warm to most. In the late ’60s plenty of other arrangers and producers were championing this style of music such as George Martin, Brian Wilson and John Barry (of Bond theme fame) so lots of great stuff to listen to.

And finally, the big one, in my youth I absolutely loved old ’60s movies like Casino Royale shown in the clip. There is a delay of a few years before films made for the big screen can be shown on television and I am guessing that this one, and the non-spoof Cubby Broccoli Bond movie You Only Live Twice, first made an appearance on British television in the early ’70s. Perhaps all was hunky dory where you lived but my memory of early ’70s Britain is that things were a bit grim and depressing. We had economic and political unrest, three-day weeks and power cuts. The clothes were all droopy (midi/maxi skirts and flared trousers) and came in a variety of shades of brown and beige. Compare all that to the brilliant colours and exotic locations shown in those comedic, technicolor movies from the ’60s and I know which era I wanted to live in, albeit vicariously.

It is no coincidence that Peter Sellers popped up in the clip for The Look of Love – His output was prolific around that time and he had already starred in What’s New Pussycat? in 1965 and After The Fox in 1966, both films having title songs written by Bacharach and David. There can’t be many people who wouldn’t recognise Tom Jones’ version of What’s New Pussycat? but despite the fact that After The Fox by The Hollies (featuring Peter Sellers) is lesser known, it has now become one of my favourite Burt songs from that period. Again, when you listen to it, you just remember all those great films that usually had very funny cartoonised opening sequences and colourful movie posters designed by Frank Frazetta.

After The Fox by The Hollies (featuring Peter Sellers):

So, “What’s It All About?” – After writing this post, I worked out how the song The Look Of Love became an earworm yesterday. It turns out that it is being used in a new advert for tinned soup! That’s another song ruined then, as from now on it won’t be associated with the husky sounds of Dusty Springfield, it will be associated with tinned tomato.

I wrote a while back about how advertising companies have worked out that if they use music from the era their target market turned 16, they will be putty in their hands and mindlessly buy anything on offer. In the case of this song, it looks as if all those recent retirees aged around 65 who eschew spending a fortune on designer soup in cartons, are about to have a purchasing frenzy, buying up all their favourite tinned soups from their youth. (Oxtail anyone? No me neither.)

Very clever marketing The Heinz Corporation, but for me, they have just ruined another classic song from the ’60s…, for all of us.

The Look of Love Lyrics
(Song by Burt Bacharach/Hal David)

The look of love
Is in your eyes
The look your smile can’t disguise
The look of love
Is saying so much more
Than just words could ever say
And what my heart has heard
Well it takes my breath away

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

You’ve got the look of love
It’s on your face
A look that time can’t erase
Be mine tonight
Let this be just the start
Of so many nights like this
Let’s take a lover’s vow
And then seal it with a kiss

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

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
Don’t ever go
I love you so

Warm Winds, Burt Bacharach and “A House Is Not A Home”

Ahead of the onset of autumn, my plan for the weekend was, (perhaps foolishly, this being the north of Scotland) to organise an outdoors get-together for some good friends. Ever since writing about the England Dan & John Ford Coley song I’d Really Love To See You Tonight earlier in the year, I’ve been a tad obsessed with trying to recreate the ambiance it conjures up (there’s a warm wind blowing the stars around). This being Scotland it was never going to be easy as to see the stars it has to be dark, and earlier in the summer it barely gets dark at all. So, it really had to be right at the end of the season which meant there would be no warm winds, but if a fire was present at least there would be warmth. Other than a short shower of rain, when we conveniently decanted inside to eat, we were able to sit outside until midnight and although not many stars visible last night there was a lovely half-moon, so really pleased with my efforts.

Late summer in Scotland – waiting for the guests to arrive!

Another real treat was that I took my new portable turntable outside which meant rifling through the old vinyl from back in the day. Rediscovered a lot of records I had forgotten about that have not been replaced in digital format, so a real added bonus to the evening. After writing about Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head recently, and how the scene where it appears in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid contains most of the ingredients I consider important for creating “the perfect day”, last night’s get-together contained most of the ingredients for the “perfect evening”.

You would think that would have been enough for one evening but no, after the guests left and some tidying up had been done, we discovered a wonderful show on BBC4 called Burt Bacharach, A Life In Song. Anyone familiar with this blog will know that I’m a great fan of Burt’s music and especially the songs he wrote with Hal David. This show had been filmed three years ago when Burt was 85 and although it was sad to see him looking so frail and aged, he still rose to the challenge of leading his orchestra and guest singers in a celebration of his music.

It was one of those shows where between the songs, Burt was interviewed by Michael Grade, who quizzed him on all aspects of his very lengthy career. What I found really interesting was that near the end, Michael asked Burt what his favourite song was and it turned out to be Alfie – This was obviously a pleasant surprise. Sadly, because I think I’ve listened to the song once too often this year, I have now become a bit tired of it but it was interesting to note that Burt chose it because he considered Hal’s lyrics to be “important”. A few months back I came to this conclusion also. There are earlier important lyrics in the song but near the end there are the lines:

I believe in love, Alfie
Without true love we just exist, Alfie
Until you find the love you’ve missed
You’re nothing, Alfie

Early on in this process of looking back nostalgically via song, it became apparent that “What’s it all about?” was indeed love – First for our family as children, then for our best friends as teenagers and finally for the people we form relationships with on the way to finding that special person. If you are lucky enough to have children, that is perhaps the greatest love of all and one from which you have no escape, although your patience may be tested at times. There is the old adage that nobody on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I’d spent more time at the office”- It is all about the people you meet on the way. In music and song, the subject of love is never far away, and what a wonderful thing to have in the world (I’m in tears here).

Of course there are many versions of the song Alfie (and it ended up being the Cher version used for the film) but when pressed, Burt very carefully sidestepped the issue of which one he preferred. He did however refer to the now infamous footage of Cilla Black being harangued into recording 41 versions, which suggests it wasn’t her one!

Alfie by Cilla Black:

But back to the show – When Burt was then asked what his second favourite song was, it turned out to be A House Is Not A Home. This show just kept getting better and better because earlier that evening, when getting ready for the party, I had thanked my lucky stars that due to circumstance we very much reside in a lived-in home as opposed to a show-house. I know that is not really the point of the song, but it had come to mind. By the time you reach your “middle-years” a lot of friends have invested heavily in their expensive, possibly cream-coloured furniture, fittings and floor coverings (the three Fs). All very nice but they are then terrified of ever hosting a social event in case anything gets spoilt or damaged. Having given up a good job when our daughter was born to be a stay-at-home mum, we’ve not had the luxury of constantly upgrading every few years – The upside of this however is that your house becomes a home, where the people in it are the most important thing and not the expensive furnishings. Our daughter’s friends were always welcome, pets were encouraged and social gatherings are a regular occurrence. I feel sorry in a way for those people trapped in the cycle of working so hard to buy all those lovely things that then can’t be enjoyed and shared, but hey, maybe that’s just me.

Yet again I have run out of words but I will end with a version of A House Is Not A Home from my collection which comes from the television show Glee, where it was sung very sweetly by the actor/singer Chris Colfer. I hadn’t really taken too much heed of the song until that point (previously recorded by Dionne Warwick, Brook Benton and many others) but it perfectly fitted the storyline and led me straight to iTunes after the show ended.

A House Is Not A Home by Chris Colfer:

So yet again I’m up far too late, just as happened last night when I was drawn to watching a late night show featuring Burt Bacharach. And of course this has been a very serious post, so apologies for that – I promise that a much more light-hearted one is to follow and it involves trousers. Watch this space.

A House Is Not A Home Lyrics
(Song by Burt Bacharach/Hal David)

A chair is still a chair
Even when there’s no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight,
And no one there you can kiss good night.

A room is still a room
Even when there’s nothing there but gloom;
But a room is not a house,
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
And one of us has a broken heart.

Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your face appears
But it’s just a crazy game
When it ends it ends in tears.

Darling, have a heart,
Don’t let one mistake keep us apart.
I’m not meant to live alone. turn this house into a home.
When I climb the stair and turn the key,
Oh, please be there still in love with me.