Even the most conscientious pop connoisseurs are bound to find surprises on THE LOOK OF LOVE: THE BURT BACHARACH COLLECTION, a three-CD box set tracing the composer's extraordinary four-decade-plus career. Predictably, most of the best-known and best-loved interpretations of Bacharach's work are included here -- Jackie DeShannon's radiant "What the World Needs Now," Dusty Springfield
's buoyant "Wishin' and Hopin'," B.J. Thomas's wistful "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Tom Jones
's brassy "What's New Pussycat?," Bobby Vinton's sentimental "Blue on Blue," the Carpenters' beatific "Close to You," Herb Alpert's pining "This Guy's in Love with You," the Fifth Dimension's haunting "One Less Bell to Answer," and, of course, almost anything by Dionne Warwick. (Bacharach himself sings or plays on several tracks as well.) But this collection also includes some notable rarities, curiosities, and curve balls. In lieu of Warwick's classic version of "Alfie," for instance, this set features British songbird Cilla Black's relatively stiff rendition of what many consider Bacharach and lyricist Hal David's signature tune. More obscure still are a young Tony Orlando's moonstruck "To Wait for Love" and then-TV heartthrob Richard Chamberlain's "Blue Guitar." Of course, the sublime far outweighs the ridiculous on this 75-track collection, which evidences Bacharach's distinctive and enduring gift for blending hope, heartbreak, and humor into melodies that are as sophisticated as they are deliciously accessible.