On December 19 1987, Madonna’s haunting ballad The Look Of Love peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart. The third and final Madonna single from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack, it was released only in select European countries and in Japan.
The Look Of Love was written, produced and recorded by Madonna and Patrick Leonard during the second of a three-day studio session, with the title track of the soundtrack being written and recorded on the first day. Additional musicians were brought in for overdubs and mixing was completed for both tracks by the end of the third day.
Despite being a set-list staple on the Who’s That Girl tour – the song’s limited release, moderate chart success, along with the fact that it has not been included in any of Madonna’s subsequent retrospective collections has led to it being largely forgotten, although fans frequently cite it as an underrated gem.
In a 1991 interview with ICON magazine, background vocalist Niki Haris expressed fond memories of performing the track with Madonna during the 1987 tour:
“My favorite song ever to perform with Madonna was a song called The Look Of Love from the Who’s That Girl Tour [Niki sings: Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide…]. That is one of the greatest songs and Madonna sings it really great. That’s my favorite song of all time as far as singing with her.”
The single reached number six in Ireland, number eight in the Netherlands and number ten in Belgium, while it peaked outside the top-ten in Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan.
On July 21 1987, the Who’s That Girl: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was released.
Who’s That Girl was released as the lead single from the soundtrack, it became Madonna’s sixth single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first artist to accumulate six number-one singles in the 1980s, and the first female performer to earn that many number-ones as a solo act.
The album’s second single, Causing a Commotion, was released on August 25, 1987. In the United States, the single quickly climbed up the chart, ultimately peaking at number two in the week of October 24, 1987, the same week Michael Jackson’s Bad advanced to the pole position. It remained in second position for three weeks, before descending from the chart.
The third song released from the album was the European single The Look of Love. In the United Kingdom, The Look of Love was released on December 12, 1987, and entered the UK Singles Chart at position 15. The next week, it reached a peak of nine on the chart, her first single to miss the top five since Lucky Star in 1984.
Regarding her contributions to the soundtrack, Madonna said:
“I had some very specific ideas in mind, music that would stand on its own as well as support and enhance what was happening on-screen and the only way to make that a reality was to have a hand in writing the tunes myself… The songs aren’t necessarily about Nikki or written to be sung by someone like her, but there’s a spirit to this music that captures both what the film and the characters are about, I think.”
The only Madonna song not to be released as a single or performed live from the soundtrack was Can’t Stop. Madonna had been performing her three other songs from the soundtrack during the Who’s That Girl World Tour for over a month prior to the album’s release.
On May 27 2017, the long-running and highly respected authority on record collecting, Goldmine Magazine, inducted Patrick Leonard into the Goldmine Hall Of Fame for his contributions to the music industry as a songwriter, producer and musician. His work with Madonna in particular was highlighted in his induction bio.
Madonna was one of the earliest inductees into the Goldmine Hall Of Fame, having secured her place in the second round of inductions. Leonard was inducted in the 95th round, which is impressive nonetheless for an artist who has always kept a relatively low profile despite working with some of the biggest names in the music business, including Michael Jackson and Leonard Cohen, and is certainly well-deserved.
As Madonna fans, we respect that she is a forward-thinking artist and our hope is that she will always continue to follow any creative path that inspires her. While we do not discount the many other brilliant songwriters Madonna has collaborated with, nor do we deny Madonna’s own gifts of writing brilliant melodic hooks and conveying universal truths through her words, the proof that Madonna and Leonard bring out the very best in each other’s craft is right there in their songs. Whether destiny holds future collaborations between Madonna & Leonard is entirely their decision to make, but should the pair find themselves inspired to work together again, it would certainly be to the delight of most Madonna fans, and potentially to fans of great music in general.
Our view is that when strong chemistry exists in a songwriting partnership, especially one that has produced such varied output as Madonna & Leonard’s, there is always an opportunity to reconnect and create something fresh and relevant. This was proven when the pair reunited for 1998’s Ray of Light, an album which, promotional tactics aside, owes as much in substance to Madonna/Leonard as it does in style to Madonna/Orbit.
The bottom line is – great songs are great songs. You can restyle a great song to make it fit with the production trends of the day, but if a song is all style with little substance it won’t stay fresh for long. The songwriting partnership of Madonna & Leonard has yielded a body of work that has consistently proven itself to be timeless. And is this not the ultimate goal of any forward-thinking artist – to produce work that is substantial and transcendent enough to remain relevant well into the future?
On June 24 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself single debuted at #21 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales chart.
The 12″ maxi single included the following:
- Express Yourself (Non-Stop Express Mix) – 7:57
- Express Yourself (Stop & Go Dubs) – 10:49
- Express Yourself (Local Mix) – 6:26
- The Look of Love (Album Version) – 4:00