Madonna was inspired by the 1954 film 'Rear Window' and the look that actor James Stewart gave actress Grace Kelly. She said: "I can't describe it, but that is the way I want someone to look at me when he loves me. It's the most pure look of love and adoration. Like surrender. It's devastating."
"The Look of Love" was released in the United Kingdom, some European countries and Japan. "I Know It", a track from Madonna's self-titled debut album, appeared as the B-side. In 1989, the song was used as the B-side for the "Express Yourself" single release. 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". It reached the top ten of the charts in Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It also charted in France, Germany and Switzerland, while on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles of Billboard, it reached 17.
Madonna's only live performances of the song were on her Who's That Girl World Tour in 1987. As she finished the performance of "Causing a Commotion", the spotlight was focused on her. The introductory music of "The Look of Love" started and Madonna roamed around the stage, pretending that she was lost.
She wanted to portray her Who's That Girl character Nikki, when she was lost in a similar sequence in the film. After she finished singing the song, Madonna pretended to walk forward by pushing through the air, as the conveyor belt took her backwards, ultimately taking her away from the stage.