♫ Brandy ♫

Released in 1972, this was the first hit for American pop rock band Looking Glass.  The song went to #1 in the U.S. and Canada, though only reached #51 in the UK.  It was written by Looking Glass lead guitarist and co-vocalist Elliot Lurie.

The four members of Looking Glass are alumni of Rutgers University, and the Spring 2009 Rutgers alumni magazine carried an article about this song and the band itself. The pertinent part reads:

“The band recorded the song seven times before they got it right. ‘Brandy’ – based on the name of (lead singer) Elliot Lurie’s high school sweetheart ‘Randy’ – tells the story of a musician torn between his love for a life at sea and his love for a barmaid. Released as the B-side of ‘Don’t It Make You Feel Good,’ the song was overlooked, as was the A-side, for that matter, until Harv Moore, a Washington DC disc jockey took it up as a personal cause. After years of playing covers and their originals at frat parties and bars in the New Brunswick area, Looking Glass was signed to Epic Records by the legendary Clive Davis.

The band, appearing on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and at Carnegie Hall, never came close to matching ‘Brandy’s’ success. And by 1973, Lurie had left for a solo career. He was replaced, but the band soon fell apart. In 1995, Looking Glass reunited to perform ‘Brandy’ and ‘Jimmie loves Mary-Anne’ at a Madison Square Garden concert. in 2000, ‘Brandy’ was part of the sound track for the film Charlie’s Angels, for which band members and Peter Sweval’s estate each received a royalty check of $30K (Sweval died of AIDS in 1992).

The members of the band also receive the modest sum of $4K each year for the general use of the song. Says former drummer Jeff Grob, wistfully: ‘If only liquor commercials were allowed on TV.

Where the former band members are today: Larry Gonsky RC’70 (keyboards) teaches music in the Morristown school district; Jeff Grob CC’85 (drums) after playing with the hard-rock band Starz, returned to school and earned his landscape architecture degree. He works for Stantec, which contributed to the redesign of Route 18. He still plays locally with Richie Ranno’s All Stars; Elliot Lurie RC’70 (lead guitar) manages actors and recording artists, including Corbin Bleu of High School Musical fame, in Los Angeles. He worked as an independent music film supervisor and executive vice president of music at 20th Century Fox; Pieter Sweval RC’70 (bass) played with Starz and the disco band Skatt Bros before dying of AIDS in 192. Royalties are donated by Sweval’s family to AIDS research.”

This was not typical of the band’s sound, which caused a problem at concerts. While audiences expected pop songs like this one, the Looking Glass played rock, which left the crowds disappointed. The band broke up less than two years later.

Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)
Looking Glass

There’s a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes

And there’s a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin’ whiskey down
They say, Brandy, fetch another round
She serves them whiskey and wine

The sailors say, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl)
“What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl)
“Yeah, your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea”

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the North of Spain
A locket that bears the name
Of the man that Brandy loved

He came on a summer’s day
Bringin’ gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn’t stay
No harbor was his home

The sailors say, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl)
“What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl)
“But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea”

Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes
When he told his sailor stories
She could feel the ocean fall and rise
She saw its ragin’ glory
But he had always told the truth, Lord, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand

At night when the bars close down
Brandy walks through a silent town
And loves a man who’s not around
She still can hear him say

She hears him say, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl)
“What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl)
“But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea”
It is, yes it is
He said, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl)
“What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl)
“But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea”

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Elliot Lurie
Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

38 thoughts on “♫ Brandy ♫

  1. Looking Glass was a, two album with one hit in each, group that fell apart after Lurie’s departure. Though this song has a catchy tune and is performed quite well, none of the other song’s on the eponymous June 1972 first album had the same formula for success. The following year’s album, as well as being their last album, barely captured my attention. I do not even recall the title of that album, only that the song “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne” is on it. It is far better to be able to claim a big hit or two than none at all! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read that they didn’t last long … besides Brandy, what was their other hit? (Yeah, I could look it up, but I’d rather hear you tell it, for you always bring these things to life!)

      Like

      • Um, Jill…the other hit was “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne”. But, what did come back to me quite some time after posting the above comment is the title of the second and last album : “Subway Serenade”. I was humming the chorus to the song and SHAZAM!…there it was! The brain is a mysterious and complex organ, especially mine. I have been pondering upon that here of late, time hangs heavy on my hands these days, and have come up with a theory. My brain is overburdened with all of this trivia and no longer desires to rapidly sift through the detritus in order to instantaneously come up with exactly what I want at any given moment in time. Then again, it could just as easily be that I am thinking too much and unduly tiring this old brain. My brain and I will now go rest! Thank-you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I did note the name of that song in your original comment, but didn’t know that was their other hit, for I’ve never heard of it. That said, my mind is slow these days … too full of detritus and it’s time for it’s annual cleansing! As for your own mind theories, I go with the latter … you are simply thinking too much. I know because I have the same issue. Sigh. I don’t wanna think anymore. I just want to sleep … 😴

          Like

      • Ummmm.wait.. I am hyperventilating. Lol. I know how busy you are, seriously. I am a movie addict which is why, likely, at least one of my children had to become entangled in that world. No, these movies has been my favorite series of superhero films in the last decade. My son worked on several of the Avengers movies. The Guardians are a side faction of the Avengers-Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, etc.
        The Guardians are led by a rogue Earth orphan (or so he thinks) named Peter Quill, who is played by the very funny, handsome Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation fame. I first saw him on The OC years ago and was enamored back then. Anyway, the first installment was good but the second was just so great with a lot of humor, action and very endearing moments. It is a feel good superhero film. Because Peter’s mother made him a mixed tape before she died (in the 70’s) as a young boy, he keeps it and plays it throughout the films, making for a grand soundtrack. I actually posted about it on Tropical Affair where I post Cat Stevens’ Father and Son song. The film begins with Brandy playing.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hang my head in shame, dear Cheryl, and beg your forgiveness for my woeful ignorance! 😔 Happens that I am not a movie buff, rarely even watch a movie. Because of the problems of relying on closed captioning, and due to the fact that I am not good at passive activities, but my mind takes off on other tangents if it isn’t required for the current activity, I almost never watch a movie. It has to be something compelling for me to spend two hours of time sitting in front of the computer just staring at the screen. A character flaw, but one that has been with me all my life. Sigh. Please forgive … I do love Cat Stevens, though … does that redeem me just a tiny bit in your eyes? 🤗

          Liked by 1 person

          • There is no need for apologies or explanations. Please forgive my ignorance in not remembering your hearing impairment when I mentioned all the music on this film. I forget about it since you express such appreciation for so many songs. I actually do understand about the closed captioning, although am not confined to it as you are my friend. I cannot watch foreign films for this reason, even ones that are dubbed over in English. I get distracted by the mouth movements not matching the words I am hearing. Cat Stevens is so amazing, as a musician and a human being! 🤗🤗

            Liked by 1 person

            • With headphones, I am able to hear the songs, but not always understand the lyrics. Still, I LOVE music and life without it would be … sad. Don’t ever apologize … it’s just one of those things, and I find ways to deal with it. In fact, I can watch movies, but it’s frustrating to spend so much time keeping up with the closed-captioning that you aren’t seeing the action on the screen. But, I’m thinking to watch a movie sometime this weekend, for I need to back off, relax a bit … the stress of the dark political scene I cover has given me an ulcer and cost me night after night of sleep. Ah well, ’twas my choice. Hugs, dear Cheryl!!! 🤗

              Like

  2. Loved the 60’s loved the 80’s found only a few memorable in the 70’s which does not include, Kiss,Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Sex Pistols and the Carpenters, not inclusive.Some of these do not react well to the oen in the CD slot on the car radio.Shame I’m not the one who drives really.
    Can you answer a burning question for me please, what do the CC85 AND RC7O after some of the names stand for?
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if you Google “biggest hits of the 70s”, you won’t find Kiss, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple or the Sex Pistols listed. One, though, that I know you like from the 70s is “Dancing Queen”, and there are others. The rules should be that the driver keeps his eyes on the road, and the passenger selects the music. However, since you guys have the driver sitting on the wrong side, all bets are off! As for CC85 and RC70 … no clue. I hope the question isn’t too burning, for I don’t know and at the moment … well, I will see what I can find out …
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

        • The ones you said you didn’t like, Kiss, Alice Cooper, etc., I didn’t like at all, though with two kids in the house, I had them shoved into my ears more than a few times! But yeah, the ones that remained popular from the 60s I mostly liked in the 70s, and I liked enough of the music from the 80s. It was as we neared the turn of the century that I began to ask, “What IS that racket?” Sigh. Every now and then I get into Chris’ car and she has left the radio on … it’s a race of my fingers to turn the bloody thing OFF!
          Cwtch

          Liked by 1 person

    • Just a uninformed guess here, but it could be that RC might mean Rutger’s Class of 1970 and the CC85 might mean Completed Class in 1985. Mayhaps I am incorrect, but as an explanation it does seem plausible! Thank-you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, this is one of the better story songs ever written. Each time we fall in love with Brandy and feel her heart ache, when she cannot elicit his passion for the sea toward her. I counter balance this song with “He went to Paris,” my favorite Jimmy Buffett song. In that one, the man became sailor after the “war took his baby and the bombs killed his lady.” The latter loved the sea, but he left to cure a broken heart, whereas Brandy’s love could not set aside that love of the sea. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Y’know … given my own experience with relationships, I think that I might choose the sea, too! I don’t recall hearing that Buffett song, but then, the only thing with which I associate Buffett is Margaritaville! I shall check out the one you mention …

      Like

      • Oh Jill, I see a future song. “He went to Paris, looking for answers to questions that bothered him so. He was impressve, young and aggressive, saving the world on his own. But, warm summer breezes and French wines and cheeses, put his ambition at bay. Summers and winters scattered like splinters and four or five years slipped away.”
        I used to sing this to my children in the rocker, Keith

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s