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Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass
Album: The Looking GlassReleased: 1972Charted:
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." (thanks, Steven -Patterson, NY)
The band was signed by Clive Davis, a legendary record executive who has nurtured the careers of many successful artists, including Santana, Billy Joel and Whitney Houston. Davis has a knack for knowing a hit song when he hears one, but he got this one wrong, releasing it as the B-side of their song "Don't It Make You Feel Good." Harv Moore, a disc jockey in Washington DC, flipped the record and played "Brandy" instead. It became very popular in the DC area, and quickly spread nationwide.
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.
There was a song called "Brandy" by an artist named Scott English that was popular around the same time in the UK. When Barry Manilow recorded it, he changed the title to "Mandy
" to avoid confusion with this song.