The Lexicon of Love

The Lexicon of Love is the debut studio album by English pop band ABC. It was released in June 1982 by Neutron Records in the United Kingdom, by Mercury Records in the United States and Japan, and by Vertigo Records in Canada and Europe. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number one and has been certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It features four UK top 20 singles; "Tears Are Not Enough", "Poison Arrow", "The Look of Love" and "All of My Heart".

The Lexicon of Love
Studio album by
Released21 June 1982 (1982-06-21)
ABC chronology
The Lexicon of Love
Beauty Stab
Singles from The Lexicon of Love
  1. "Tears Are Not Enough"
    Released: 16 October 1981
  2. "Poison Arrow"
    Released: 5 February 1982
  3. "The Look of Love"
    Released: 7 May 1982
  4. "All of My Heart"
    Released: 27 August 1982
  5. "Valentine's Day"
    Released: 1982 (Japan only)

Though not a concept album,[2] the album features repeated themes in which the singer experiences heartache as he tries and fails to have a meaningful relationship. A longform music video/film, Mantrap, featuring songs from the album was released in 1983.


The Lexicon of Love was ABC's debut album. The band had formed a few years earlier as Vice Versa and released their first single as ABC "Tears Are Not Enough" in 1981.

The songs on the album were written collectively by the band, with arranger Anne Dudley given songwriting credits on some tracks. Martin Fry said that the band's ambition was to fuse punk and disco, music that was more sophisticated but still had some attitude. Lyrically, the songs are all about the matters of the heart. "Most of the other people were writing about electric pylons. We wanted to hark back to Cole Porter and his ilk, but in a very modern way", Fry said. The title The Lexicon of Love originated from a headline of a live review of ABC in NME.[3]

Recording and release datesEdit

The majority of the album was recorded at Sarm East Studios in London, as well as at Abbey Road Studios, Townhouse Studios, RAK Studios and Good Earth Studios. The production includes both orchestral arrangements and the use of the then latest technology.[3]

The album was produced by Trevor Horn, engineered by Gary Langan and features orchestrations by Anne Dudley and Fairlight CMI programming by J. J. Jeczalik; Horn, Langan, Dudley and Jeczalik would later form the Art of Noise a year after the release of this album. Indeed, most of the production team and session players on the album would form the basis for the ZTT label, and their work with Horn meant all concerned would be in constant demand throughout the industry in years to come. The cover photo is by Gered Mankowitz.[3]

"Tears Are Not Enough" (in its initial release produced by Steve Brown), "All of My Heart", "Poison Arrow" and "The Look of Love (Part One)" were all top-20 entries in the UK; the latter two also charted in the US, peaking at No. 25 and No. 18, respectively.[4] The album reached No. 1 on the UK charts and peaked at No. 24 in the US charts.

The album was followed by a tour with the band extended to an 11-piece on stage, reaching Europe, USA and Japan. The shows at Hammersmith Odeon in November 1982 were recorded for inclusion in ABC's forthcoming film Mantrap.[3]

In 2004, a two-disc deluxe reissue including previously unreleased outtakes and early demos and a live performance of the album from 1982 was released by Neutron Records.

In 2009, ABC performed the entire album at the Royal Albert Hall in London, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by arranger and composer Anne Dudley. They were joined onstage by the album's producer Trevor Horn.[5]

The Lexicon of Love was again performed live in its entirety on 18 December 2012 at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This marked the 30th anniversary of the album's release and once again featured Dudley as conductor, performing with the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra. The same line-up (with Dudley and Southbank Sinfonia) concluded a four-date mini-tour at this same venue on 30 March 2014 performing the album in its entirety. Martin Fry and band were once more accompanied by the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra for dates at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sheffield City Hall, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham, between November 4 and 9, 2015.

A sequel album The Lexicon of Love II was released on 27 May 2016.[6]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [7]
Blender     [8]
Christgau's Record GuideA−[9]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [10]
Mojo     [11]
Q     [12]
Rolling Stone     [13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [14]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[16]

The album was a critical and commercial success. It entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and remained on the charts for 50 weeks. It was the fourth biggest selling album in the UK in 1982.[3]

In a review of the 2004 Deluxe Edition BBC stated that "The Lexicon of Love stands as a landmark album in British pop". Rob Webb wrote: "It underpins just what a sharp band ABC were: witty, lyrical and very, very funky (...) Each track is a love affair in miniature: some are touching ("All of My Heart", "Show Me"), others a bitter invective at misplaced passion ("Many Happy Returns"). There is more going on in "2 Gether 4 Ever" than many bands squeeze into an entire album (...) Dance music had rarely been so literate."[17]

AllMusic wrote: "The production style was dense and noisy, but frequently beautiful, and the group's emotional songs gave it a depth and coherence later Horn works (...) would lack." "Fry and company used the sound to create moving dancefloor epics like "Many Happy Returns," which, like most of the album's tracks, deserved to be a hit single."[18]

From contemporary reviews, Ken Tucker of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the album a one star out of five rating stating that the album was "prissy dance music, light on the beat and heavy on the sort of maundering crooning that the effete English rock musicians frequently mistake for passion."[19]

Colin Larkin awarded the album 5 stars (outstanding) in The Encyclopedia of Popular Music stating: “Their pristine pop songs were nowhere better showcased than on the superb The Lexicon of Love. This Trevor Horn-produced album remains a benchmark of 80s pop, and a formidable collection of melodramatic love songs assembled in one neat package.” [20]

  • NME listed it number 15 on its list of 50 albums of the 80s.
  • NME listed it number 3 on its list of 50 albums of the year 1982.
  • Uncut listed It number 52 on its list of 100 greatest debut albums.
  • Mojo listed it in its list of 9 albums of the year 1982.
  • The Village Voice listed it number 19 on its list of 20 albums of the year 1982.
  • Q magazine listed it number 40 on its list of the 100 greatest British albums ever.
  • Q magazine readers voted The Lexicon of Love the 92nd greatest album of all time.
  • The Observer Music Monthly listed it number 42 on its list "Top 100 British Albums".
  • Mentioned in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Martin Fry, Mark White, Stephen Singleton and David Palmer, except where noted.

Side one
1."Show Me" 4:02
2."Poison Arrow"
3."Many Happy Returns" 3:56
4."Tears Are Not Enough"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • David Robinson
5."Valentine's Day" 3:42
Side two
6."The Look of Love" (Part One)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
7."Date Stamp" 3:51
8."All of My Heart" 5:12
9."4 Ever 2 Gether"
10."The Look of Love" (Part Four)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
Total length:37:25
Additional track listings



Additional personnel


2004 deluxe edition credits
  • Gary Moore – digital remastering
  • Daryl Easlea – album coordinator; compiler
  • Martin Fry – compiler
  • Deluxe Graphics@Green Ink – artwork restoration; adaption[21]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[38] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[39] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[41] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Top 15 Sophisti-Pop Albums". 20 August 2018.
  2. ^ "BBC 6 Music interview with Martin Fry". Radcliffe and Maconie (Interview). Interviewed by Stuart Maconie. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e The Lexicon of Love Deluxe Edition Booklet, 2004
  4. ^ "ABC – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  5. ^ "ABC and The BBC Concert Orchestra present The Lexicon of Love". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  6. ^ "ABC to release The Lexicon of Love II". Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  7. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "The Lexicon of Love – ABC". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  8. ^ Himmelsbach, Erik. "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Blender. Archived from the original on 15 December 2003. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X.
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  11. ^ "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Mojo: 124. [Including] songs as perfect as 'The Look Of Love' – replete with knowingly absurd talkover – or the jaw-dropping 'All of My Heart,' still one of the '80s most underrated singles...
  12. ^ "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Q (360): 117. July 2016.
  13. ^ Fricke, David (16 September 1982). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Rolling Stone (378). ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  14. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "ABC". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 2. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  15. ^ Harrison, Ian (May 1996). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Select (71): 102.
  16. ^ Weisbard & Marks 1995, p. 4
  17. ^ ABC The Lexicon of Love Review BBC
  18. ^ The Lexicon of Love
  19. ^ Tucker, Ken (7 November 1982). "Albums". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 12. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  20. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th Concise ed.). United Kingdom: Omnibus Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-84609-856-7.
  21. ^ "ABC: The Lexicon of Love".
  22. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 10. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  23. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6165a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  24. ^ " – ABC – The Lexicon of Love" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  25. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  26. ^ " – ABC – The Lexicon of Love" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  27. ^ Okamoto, Satoshi (2006). Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  28. ^ " – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  29. ^ " – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  30. ^ " – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  31. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  32. ^ "ABC Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Albums 82". RPM. Vol. 37 no. 19. 25 December 1982. p. 19. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved 11 June 2019 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  34. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1982". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Top Albums of 1982". Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  36. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of 1983". RPM. Vol. 39 no. 17. 24 December 1983. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved 21 April 2020 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  37. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1983". 31 December 1983. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  38. ^ "Canadian album certifications – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Music Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  39. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Recorded Music NZ. 5 December 1982. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  40. ^ "British album certifications – ABC – Lexicon of Love". British Phonographic Industry. 4 October 1982. Retrieved 11 June 2019.Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Lexicon of Love in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  41. ^ "American album certifications – ABC – Lexicon of Love". Recording Industry Association of America. 15 February 1995. Retrieved 11 June 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 


External linksEdit