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Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)

by

Looking Glass



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The magazine for Rutgers University Alumni - Spring 2009 - carried an article about this song and the band itself. The 4 members of Looking Glass are alumni of Rutgers. 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. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
This was not typical of the band's sound, which caused a problem at concerts. While audiences expected Pop songs like this, the Looking Glass played Rock, which left the crowds disappointed. The band broke up less than 2 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.
Looking Glass
More Looking Glass songs
More songs with girls' names in the title
More songs about unrequited love

Comments (57):

Hate to say it but this song is played to death on my local oldies station (wcbs-fm) and I can't stand it! Sorry.
- 70s Flashback, staten island, NY
I find it very disturbing that the song Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) was credited to Elliot Lurie as the composer when in fact he was not the composer of this song. He bought the rights, and for all these years, people still think he wrote the song, what a shame!
- Vinny8, Toronto, ON
James from Chesterton, Indiana is correct. I know the man who wrote this song and he sings it beautifully as well. It was always one of my favorite songs so it was a really cool coincidence to meet and get to know Steve. Last time I saw him was in valpo so I have a feeling James knows him also. Steve should have gotten a lot more credit for being the songwriter. It's a fantastic song!
- Andie, Azle, TX
Ok well here is the "rest of the story". Elliot Lurie did not write the song "Brandy". He did not write the lyrics or the music. That is why the song sounded so different from the rest of their live sets. The song Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) was written by a man in Chicago who was close friends with the band The New Colony Six. He wrote the song for his friends to record but the band fell apart before that could happen. Some time later, two years maybe, a sound engineer called the writer of the song and asked him if he still had it. The engineer said there is a band in town from New York and they are looking for some material to record. The man agreed to come to the studio and introduced the song to Lurie and the rest of the group. So after sitting on the song he had wrote for three years or longer, he sold all rights to Lurie.
- James, Chesterton, IN
Link to online story of Mary Ellis' grave:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=dfl&GSln=ellis&GSfn=mary&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1827&GSdyrel=in&GSst=33&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=6607965&df=all&
- sandy, Enterprise, FL
Brandy played solo with the seas as seen thru blue eyes. As if the tale was told.. love the song
- Kimberly, Landing, NJ
Recorded with the Fender Rhodes electric piano, which was used on many hits back in the 70's.
- Jim, West Palm Beach, FL
I saw the post from Robert from San Jose, CA. Like him, the first time I heard this song it was almost mystical. I was a young Sailor going through BUD/S training in San Diego in 1972. We had just finished one of the worst days of my life and were returning to the barracks to get "unsandy". As we entered the barracks in the distance I heard "Brandy". Whenever I hear it now I'm immediately taken back to that evening but always with a fond memory, not how I felt at the time.
- Tom, Modesto, CA
I know of at least a dozen girls who were named from this song. Alas, I know even more who are named "Madison" because their foolish parents saw "Splash" and decided it was suitable as a name as well.
- esskayess, Dallas, TX
Brandy is one of my old favorites. There is something about Elliot Lurie's voice that is really calming, the "Looking Glass" band as a whole is super geat too. I also love the story he tells in his song. I wish we had more singers/bands that would put great music (songs) out there like they did back in the 60's & 70's. I listen to a lot of music (50, 60, 70 & 80's) at work and some from current artists. The current artists just don't make the grade that the past artists did. They just don't seem to feel what they are singing. I'll just keep listening to the Oldies, (especially artists like the "Looking Glass".
Joyce, KS, USA
- joyce, Plains, KS
This song always stirs up memories. I was in the Navy when it came out. We used to go to the Enlisted Men's Club for lunch. They had dancers at the club during lunch. There was a beautiful dancer named Brandi and she would dance to this song every day. Great memories!
- Robert, San Jose, CA
The song "Mandy" by Barry Manillow has nothing to do with the song "Brandy"......they are two completely different songs, with no connection!!!
- Faye, Jacksonville, FL
This song triggered a huge wave of baby girls named "Brandy" in the early-to-mid seventies. My sister's stepdaughter was one of them. Didn't mind that a bit, unlike the flood of girls named "Madison" that started with the movie "Splash." What a name for a kid. How 'bout other cities, like Minneapolis or Albuquerque?
- esskayess, Dallas, TX
i am 46 and love this song,anyone know if the group is canadian
- mike, owen sound,ontario, ON
Love the video for this song, wish the resolution was better. Elliot was hot!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-dleViv2nc&feature=player_embedded
- Laura, Saratoga, CA
Actually the group name came along when they were all sitting around and were watching Alice in Wonderland. One guy said "Hey she jumped through the looking glass..." and they named the group Looking Glass. Bill Fisher was the group Bassist, but was drafted and while he was in the service when the song made a hit. He was later reunited with the drummer in Colton, Ca when a Radio DJ said "There is a member of the group Looking Glass out there..." and they both called in. He ended up driving to Bill's house and giving him a copy of the Album with Bill Fisher named as the Bass Player, and gave it to Bill. Bill died in 2001 of a heart attack. We plaed the song Barndy at his funeral. Bill Fisher was a computer repair guy for many companies, and owned his own company called Exalibur Computers. He was a great man and never told us about the band until we knew him well. He never used it as any kind of benifet of his own. You had to beat him to tell the story. But it holds a special place for us that remember him.
- Rick, Fresno, CA
I have a relative named Brandy.
- Claire, Miller's, MD
heyaa,
i was named after this song but my name is spelt with a double E.... its a pretty cool song....
and it first became a hit on my mum's 7th birthday...BEAT THAT!!!!
- Brandee, Brisbane, Australia
This is one of the best well constructed songs ever
- bob, San Antonio, TX
When I was in high school this was a hit and I said to myself then that when I had a daughter that Brandy would be her name. My first child was a girl and I named her Brandy. She is now 28 and my very best friend in this world.
I recently visited Spain and my top mission there was to get my Brandy a locket and braided chain from the North of Spain. I succeded and I plan to have the love of her life's name engraved on the inside of the locket. In July I will give it to her for a birthday present.
It is a beautiful song and as the song states, Brandy did turn out to be a great wife (and mother as well). Of course it took a wonderful young man to make it all happen
Sandra Willson, Tx
- Sandra, Leggett, TX
I know how the sailor feels, I own a 33ft Bayliner
cant go to the sea but ocean,yes. and i am a female but I love the water.
Deanna
- Deanna, Squamish, BC
My parents used to have this song on one of their LP's (remember those?) I've loved listening to it ever since I was a kid. I agree that "Brandy" is the type of girl any guy would want, but, as fate would have it, she can't have the man she wants!
- Matt, Somersworth, NH
My mom was named after this song.
- Jerry, Brooklyn, NY
Hey guys. my name is Greg Gonsky, my dad Larry was the keyboardist for Looking Glass. the first few seconds you hear of the song is my dad playing lol it's great seeing there are still fans of the band out there! i had a myspace going for Looking Glass nostalgia, but it got crazy and i hectically deleted it. i might get it running again, we'll see.
- Greg, New Jersey, NJ
By the summer of 1974 the band had faded to the point where they were playing county fairs. I saw them at the Dubuque County Fair in Dubuque Iowa in July of that year. They played two sets -- each about 45 minutes and played "Brandy" and "Jimmy Loves Mary Anne" repeatedly -- at least five times each. It was cool, because they had a great sound, but a little sad because they just had these two hits and they weren't connecting with any of their other material.

Still, after a hot summer day in Iowa, it was great to kick back in the cool evening breeze and enjoy these two mellow tunes.
- Glenn, Minneapolis, MN
This song came out the best summer of my life, 1973. I got to travel by myself on a bus to Seattle to see my best friend Theresa S. for a week. I thought Seattle was amaing and magical. Whenever I hear the song Brandy I think of the best summer of my life when I was 12. I moved to Seattle after I grad. from high school and have had a great life here. I'm a girl that adores the sea and has a locket from my husband who unlike Brandy's man has been around. Who knows...maybe I learned from Brandy!! Thanks Elliott Lurie... you changed my life!!
- Patty, Spokane, WA
I was born in November 1972 and the song hit Number 1 in September 1972. My daddy loved the song and he was in the Navy so that is how I got my name. My mom and daddy always told me that was how I got my name. My Mom always calls me whenever she hears it on the radio. I had a frien that I used to go out with and when we would meat a guy and tell him our names she would always sing "Brandy, you're a fine girl what a good wife you would be." Sadly it never helped pick up any guys.
- Brandy, Hendersonville, NC, NC
Look up Elliot Lurie on Wikipedia -- he has had a successful career. The version by The RHCPeppers is on YouTube, along with the original.
- Wes, Erewhon, Czech Republic
my dad named me after he heard it while waiting for me to enter the world he loved it and decided that that would be my name only spelt Brande. that was in 1985. and I am a fine girl
- brande, las vegas, NV
My daughter "Brandy" was named after this song in 1996.
My husband suggested naming our third daughter "Brandy" after passing "Brandy's" Sports bar here in Ohio. I pointed out we were Southern Baptist, and we didn't drink; and of course it is a name of a alcoholic drink as well. Then he pointed out that it was a song, by "Looking Glass" And of course I recognized the song right off. I loved it growing up. It has always been a song that you couldn't forget when you hear it on the radio, so for hours you would find yourself just singing it. Being parents from the early 60's we could appreciate it.
I felt it would be a good loyal name to give her since Brandy in the song was so loyal to the sailor.
Each of our daughter's has a story of how they got their name and this is "Brandy's!"
- Janie, Middletown, OH
One of my most fondest memories of my Navy days was when 2 buddies & I sung this song at a Karioki bar in Singapore. We were all drunk, couldn't sing or dance (made total fools of our selves). But the bar was filled with Sailors & Marines who were also very drunk. And although we got a huge (very un-deserved) standing ovation, we cringed while watching the video...OOOHHH what wonderful memories!!!
- rekeaux, Philadelphia, PA
Played at my wedding in 1973 at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, NJ. So I have a tendency to believe the comments related to New Brunswick and Rutgers. The wedding reception and band cost a total of $1,000. Great Band, Great Party and still married.
Walt, Haddon Heights, NJ
- walt, haddon heights, NJ
Great song; on of my favorites. Lyrics very clear, story line excellent. Great music!
- Donald, Seattle, WA
Does anyone know if any other band does a cover of this song? I tried to get Flogging Molly to play it last year, but they refused. If anyone know please email me at josh.the.hammer@gmail.com
- Josh, Woodlawn, IL
This has to be one of the most-played radio songs of all time. It has NEVER left the playlists since it came out in '72. You would think that would make me totally sick of it, but it's such a good song, I still enjoy it and reflect on the story almost every time I hear it! Great clear lyrics! It does what music does best--it evokes emotions.
- Guy, Woodinville, WA
Here's a question ... years ago (when I was in middle school and waiting for the bus to arrive in the morning), I heard on the radio a version of Brandy by Bill Murray in his lounge-singer style ... can anyone tell me where this from? Was it on SNL? I've been searching for it for a long, long time... It was one of the funniest things I've ever heard!
- Leah, Ann Arbor, MI
As a bass player, I've always loved Brandy for its challenging bass part, as well as the fact that it's just plain good music. So I bought it on iTunes, and discovered that the iTunes copy (only available on an album called "One Hit Wonders") was a recut, using the same singer but a different and less-talented bass player. Bah.
- Bill, Boca, FL
My parents' former mortgage broker actually wrote this song and sold it to the band for just over a thousand dollars. These Rutgers boys already had money and decided to buy a hit for themselves. That's the REAL story.
- Casey, Wanatah, IN
I heard this song is about a gay sailor. He'd rather hang out with a bunch of other sailors than with her. "But my life, my lover, my lady
is the sea" - they really wanted to write "C" (as in a four letter word for penis)
- stu, summit, NJ
I LOVE this song it makes me wanna just grove to it! It also makes me feel bad for Brandy and makes me wonder will she ever get her man??? LOVE it, that's some good stuff there!
- michelle, wilmington, DE
One of the best choruses from the 70's:
"Brandy, you're a fine girl. What a good wife you would be! But my life, my love and my lady is the sea ..."

The light-hearted vocals, harmonies and intrumentation only serve to intensify your sentiment of saddness, loss and sympathy with the song.
There goes the same old adage again: They just don't make this kind of music any more these days.

- Sunny Paul, Hong Kong
- Sunny, , Hong Kong
Even though i'm only 13, i just love this song, even if it makes me cry very time. I have yet to hear other songs from the group though.
- Frida, Urbana, IL
Very strange article about the possible inspiration for the song. looking Glass were from New Brunswick , NJ where this story takes place.

MAKING A GRAVE DECISION
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
BY NAWAL QAROONI
Star-Ledger Staff
Mary Ellis has been resting in her grave for 178 years, in a small family plot near the Raritan River in New Brunswick.

Even as the landscape around her changed, her grave remained untouched. Today, she rests in the middle of the parking lot at the Loews movie theater, her plot about six feet above ground, her tombstone surrounded by a wrought iron fence.
But Ellis soon may be uprooted to make way for 524 luxury condominiums, 42,000 square feet of retail and three parking garages. She would be moved closer to the river as part of a plan proposed by developer Jack Morris, whose company, Edgewood Properties, bought the 23-acre property several years ago for $14.7 million.

Morris, who grew up about a mile from the site, said he knew Ellis' story when he bought the land.

"You can certainly build on top of her and around her, but that's not the right thing to do in my mind," Morris said, adding that he wants to recreate her family plot from pictures he has seen, complete with an iron gate around it. "We can bring Mary home to where I think she belongs and wants to be."

According to lore, Ellis was desperately in love with a sea captain. When he sailed off to sea, he vowed to return and marry her, so she waited for him at the river's bend day in and day out.

To maintain her vigil, Ellis bought the piece of land overlooking the Raritan in 1813. She was buried there 14 years later without ever seeing her beloved again. Six other relatives are believed to be buried in the plot, though their graves are unmarked.

Some believe Ellis was the inspiration for the 1970s song "Brandy" by the New Brunswick band Looking Glass. The song tells the story of a girl in love with a ship captain who couldn't leave his true love -- the sea -- to be with her.

Morris said he wants to bring the band back to New Brunswick for the grand opening of the development. Other officials involved in the project said moving Ellis' grave out of the theater parking lot will only do her justice.

"The grave is in the middle of the site, in a sort of tough position," said Dave Minno, a principal at Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners who is working on the project. "What we can do is make it part of a river walkway and memorialize it with a plaque."
- snerdley, newark, NJ
It's kinda cool to have the same name as a song. I can imagine that it's me they're singing about. :)
- Brandy, Seattle, WA
I absolutely love this song. It's one of those songs that you know and have heard because it's a popular "oldies" song or is in movies (ie: Charlie's Angels with Tom Green singing the chorus). I know this sounds crazy, but I actually listened to it on repeat for a few days straight; I was going through a rough time regarding a relationship. This made me feel so peaceful and happy. It reminds me of a woman that is just so simple, yet perfect. Perhaps the kind that any guy would want--not flashy, just a great lover and companion. After all, not much is really expalined about her; she is simply presented in her basic glory. It's great that such songs as this can sound so great and almost new, despite the fact that it came out several years ago. I think the song can be interpreted in various ways; it can be a song about the woman, or about conflict of emotion, or both..
Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post. Great song :-)
- Rich, NY, NY
I had never heard of this song until a friend of mine started singing it to me. Now everytime I see her, she starts singing it to me. And Since then our group of friends all sing it to me.
- Brandy, **********, SC
It's a good song. Makes me sad for some reason
- Ashley Jade, Cleveland, GA
Hey, my name! Well, almost... haha
- Brandi, Stafford, VA
I was named ater this song, though my name is spelled with an "i" and not a "y". I guess I love it so much because although I do not work "laying whisky down" I d0 like to watch the eyes of sailors as they tell their tales and I AM in love with a man who is not around,while I do my best to understand.
- Brandi, Ada, MI
I've recently discovered that this whole song is a lie. I'm dating a girl named Brandy right now and not only does she not live anywhere near the sea, but when I finally had to put my foot down about her being in love with some guy floating around in a boat she flat out denied it.
- Murph, Peoria, IL
My dad said that he sang backup on the track, though I'm not really finding any credit to his name. But then again, when DO backup singers get credit?
- Rob, Lititz, PA
I saw the chilies cover this in hyde park and it was amazing! This is such a beautiful song.
- Simon, London, England
Although his solo career never took off, Elliot Lurie didn't drop off the planet. Among other things, he works in the movie business as a music supervisor/producer.
- Jim, Folsom, CA
Does anyone know what happened to Elliot Lurie? Urban legend has it that he was abducted by aliens because shortly after release of "Brandy" and while it was climbing the charts, Lurie disappeared. Some have speculated that he couldn't cope with success. Evidently, he just dropped off the face of the Earth. The Alien abduction comment is purely a stab at humor.
- Mike, Wichita, KS, United States
i think the red hot chili peppers sung this song on the live at hyde park cd i really like it.
- Tegan, Melbourne, Australia
this song is pretty cool. it is the only song by them i like.
- gavin, hampden, MA
The actual whole title of the song is Brandy (You're a Fine Girl). The group had a follwup minor hit in autumn 1973 "Jimmy Loves Mary Anne".
- Charles, Charlotte, NC
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