#1145: Just One Look by Anne Murray

Peak Month: November 1974
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position ~ #17
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #86

In 1945 Morna Anne Murray was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, a coal-mining town. Her father was a doctor and her mother was a registered nurse. Growing up she took piano lessons for six years and began taking vocal lessons at age fifteen in 1960. In 1962 she gave one of her first public performances singing “Ave Maria” at her high school graduation. She went on to be part of the CBC variety show Singalong Jubilee in 1967. Her  first album, What About Me, was released in 1968. Her signature song, “Snowbird” went to #6 in Vancouver and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It established a following and 76 singles, 32 studio albums and 55 million record sales later, Anne Murray is one of the most awarded and honored recording artists in the Canadian music industry.

Eight years before Anne Murray was born a baby girl named Doris Elaine Higginsen was born in 1937 in the Bronx. Doris’ father was a Pentecostal minister. She later took her grandmother’s name, Doris Payne. Though she liked R&B music, her parents viewed R&B music as “subversive.” So young Doris developed her vocal talents in her father’s church choir.  She took her stage name from Helen of Troy. Doris Troy wrote a song for Dee Clark called “How About That” which spent 12 weeks on the Billboard charts in the winter of 1959-60, and six weeks in Vancouver, in both cases climbing to #33. In the early 60s Troy worked with Solomon Burke, the Drifters and Dionne Warwick. Then she co-wrote and recorded a studio demo of “Just One Look” in a ten minute studio session in October 1962. The songwriting credits used her proper name, Doris Payne. She took the demo to Sue Records who were not interested. Next she approached  Atlantic, where the label released the demo unchanged. In 1963 while working as an usherette at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, Doris Troy was discovered by James Brown. He was a catalyst for promoting her song. “Just One Look” climbed to #10 in the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1963 and #24 in Vancouver. “Just One Look” was the only charting US hit for Troy. She went on to do session work as a back-up singer with The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Pink Floyd, Carly Simon and others.

“Just One Look” was a #2 hit for The Hollies in the UK in 1964, peaking at #23 in Vancouver and #98 on the Billboard Hot 100. Linda Ronstadt recorded the song in 1978 and her single climbed to #44 on the Billboard Hot 100. Martha and the Vandellas and Lulu are among the other recording artists who included the song on one of their albums. Florida based disco group, Faith, Hope And Charity, had a Top 40 hit with the song in the UK in 1975. Among the recording artists that chose to cover the song was Anne Murray. The song would become her eighth Top 20 hit in Vancouver, peaking at #17, while the song only spent a few weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #86.

Just One Look” was Anne Murray’s fourth single from her seventh studio album, Love Song. At the time many Canadian recording artists were benefiting from exposure on the radio due to the Canadian content rules dictating a ratio of songs classified as “Canadian.” Content required a certain percentage of Canadian contributions to either the music being composed by a Canadian, the artist performing the song being a Canadian, the performance being recorded in Canada and the lyrics being written by a Canadian. Often Anne Murray’s singles fit enough of the categories to be a shoo-in for a playlist. But on her album, Love Song, the first two singles released from the album, “Send a Little Love My Way” and “Love Song” did not appear on the CKLG charts in 1973-74. The latter is especially surprising given “Love Song” was a #1 hit on the Canadian RPM singles chart and climbed to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The third single, “You Won’t See Me” did chart in Vancouver for just five weeks peaking at #15, but did better in the USA with a #8 peak on the Billboard charts.

“Just One Look” is a song, as the title suggests, about an instant attraction. The singer has fallen hard for the object of their desire: their “only one.” As the song unfolds, the singer hasn’t made the love of their life their own yet. And so they’re “gonna keep on scheming” ’til the love of their life says “yes.” Clearly, they sense they can switch up their life with this person whose walked into their life. The prospect of not having their love “forever and always” is unthinkable, as she sings “without you I’m nothing.”

Anne Murray - Just One Look 45 (Capitol Canada).jpg

Just one look and I fell so hard
In love with you oh oh
I found out how good it feels
To have your love oh oh
Say you will, will be mine
Forever and always oh oh
Just one look and I knew
That you were my only one whoa

I thought I was dreaming
But I was wrong yeah yeah yeah
Ah but I’m gonna keep on scheming
Till I make you, make you my own

So you see I really care
Without you I’m nothing oh oh
Just one look and I know oh oh
I’ll get you someday oh oh
Just one look, that’s all it took
Just one look, that’s all it took
just one look…

Four years later Anne Murray had her biggest international hit called “You Needed Me.”

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