Lookin' for Love

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"Lookin' for Love"
Johnny Lee Lookin for Love single.png
Single by Johnny Lee
from the album Urban Cowboy soundtrack
ReleasedJune 30, 1980
RecordedSpring 1980
StudioSunset Sound Recorders, 6650 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, California
GenreCountry pop
LabelFull Moon 47004
Songwriter(s)Wanda Mallette, Bob Morrison, Patti Ryan
Producer(s)John Boylan
Johnny Lee singles chronology
"This Time"
"Lookin' for Love"
"One in a Million"

"Lookin' for Love" is a song written by Wanda Mallette, Bob Morrison and Patti Ryan, and recorded by American country music singer Johnny Lee. It was released in June 1980 as part of the soundtrack to the film Urban Cowboy, released that year. Marcy Levy was one of the female singers who provided backing vocals on the track. "Lookin' for Love" was reissued as the lead song on his October 1980 album of the same name.


Lee, whose biggest hit to date had been a 1977 cover of Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party", had been the main nightclub act (behind Mickey Gilley himself) at Gilley's, a nightclub owned by Sherwood Cryer and country music superstar Mickey Gilley. Record executive Irving Azoff offered Lee the chance to record "Lookin' For Love",[1] a song that 20-plus artists had rejected.[2]

Critics were not kind to Lee nor the song. Country music historian Bill Malone once noted that "Lookin' for Love" – in his words, a "lilting little pop song" – became the featured song of Urban Cowboy and a huge commercial hit largely because "actor John Travolta (the movie's co-star) expressed a liking for it."[3] Critic Kurt Wolff panned the song as an example of "watered-down cowboy music."[4]

Public reaction was much better. "Lookin' for Love" rose to No. 1 (for a three-week stay) on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and was a No. 5 Billboard Hot 100 hit as well. On the U.S. Cash Box Top 100, the song spent two weeks at No. 4.[5] The song is now recognized as a standard in country music, praised by country music fans and critics alike.

"Lookin' for Love" was certified gold for sales of 1,000,000 units by the Recording Industry Association of America.[6]



The song was performed by Johnny Lee in an episode of Chips. It could also be heard in two episodes of Dallas, episodes 274 and 275.

Cover versions, parodies and tributes[edit]

Country music group Sawyer Brown recorded a cover of the song on the 2000 album The Hits Live. This version peaked at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The song is also featured in the classic Saturday Night Live sketch Buh-Weet Sings, in which Buckwheat from Our Gang (played by Eddie Murphy) sings the song as "Wookin Pa Nub".

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" is titled in tribute to this song ("par'Mach" is defined in the episode as "the Klingon word for love, but with more aggressive overtones").[11]

Al Lowe's second Leisure Suit Larry game, Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places), is named after the song. The song was referenced in Operation Repo in season 11 episode 7.

The Mexican group, Los Felinos did a Spanish cover "Buscando Amor."

The song was punned in the January 13, 2020 comic strip Pearls Before Swine.



  1. ^ Mark Deming (1946-07-03). "Johnny Lee | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  2. ^ "Lookin' For Love by Johnny Lee". songfacts.com. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  3. ^ Malone, Bill, "Country Music U.S.A," 2nd rev. ed. (University of Texas Press, Austin, 2002), p.371.
  4. ^ Wolff, Kurt, "Country Music: The Rough Guide," Rough Guides Ltd., London; Penguin Putnam, New York, distributor. p. 424 (ISBN 1-85828-534-8)
  5. ^ a b "Top 100 1980-10-11". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-05-19. Retrieved 2007-06-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Johnny Lee Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Johnny Lee Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 137.
  10. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1980". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
  11. ^ Erdman, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. New York: Pocket Books. p. 377. ISBN 0-671-50106-2.

Other sources[edit]