I'm Mandy Fly Me
by 10cc

Album: How Dare You (1975)
Charted: 6 60
  • The idea for this song came from a very suggestive - some would say sexist - advertising campaign in the '70s for National Airlines, and American carrier that was taken over by Pan-Am in 1980. The ads featured real stewardesses and carried headlines like, "I'm Cheryl. Fly me." There were also television spots.

    10cc was a British group; members Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman spotted the ads when they came to America and got a kick out of them. Stewart recalled in a BBC Radio Wales interview: "I remember seeing in Manchester this beautiful poster and just below it was this tramp, I mean a serious tramp, quite a raggedy guy, looking up at this girl, and I thought God, do you know, there's a song there. Look at that guy looking up at Cindy-fly-me and I know he's never gonna get on an aeroplane, I don't think, except in his dreams."

    Kevin Godley ended up re-writing the lyric, which is written from the perspective of a traveller living out the fantasy of the ad campaign until the plane crashes. He's rescued by Mandy, but then she's nowhere to be found. Could it have all been a dream?
  • Musically, there's a lot going on in this song. After the line, "as my heart began to fall," the rhythm changes completely, going into an instrumental section as we enter the dream sequence. Graham Gouldman's first attempt at the music was deemed "too bland," but they livened up a-la Paul McCartney in "Band On The Run."

    "It just goes on," Eric Stewart said of their first attempt. "On one plane, your verses and your middles and your der-der-der, they're all going on the one plane. What it needs is someone to go bash on the side of your head."

    So Stewart and Gouldman changed the rhythm completely and "put two whacking great guitar solos in there, in the middle of this quiet, soft, floaty song." The end result was, "this lovely interesting song with the whacking guitar solos in it."
  • The beginning and the end of this song include airplane sounds like the familiar ding heard on planes to alert passengers.
  • The song that plays at the beginning as if through a small speaker is a 10cc song from 1974 called "Clockwork Creep," which is written from the perspective of plane with a bomb on board. The section used includes these lyrics:

    Oh, no you'll never get me up in one of these again
    'Cause what goes up must come
    Down, down, down...
  • As Gouldman recalls, the girl in the ad that inspired the song was named "Suzy." He changed it to "Mandy" for the song, undeterred by the 1974 Barry Manilow hit "Mandy."

    "I think there was an underlying message" he said of the ad in a Songfacts interview. "It intrigued me, but I didn't want to call it 'I'm Suzy, Fly Me' because it didn't sing well, but I liked 'Mandy' - it just felt right. That was the only reason I chose it, because it felt right."
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Comments: 25

  • Maark from UkJoshua - Twin Cities, Mn: Barry Manilow's "Mandy" was a cover of a song called "Brandy" by Scott English. The original was allegedly about alcoholism, so it is about the influence of drugs, namely brandy. The song contains the lines:

    "Oh, Brandy, well, you kissed me
    And stopped me from shaking
    And I need you today"

    Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-zhg1BeUkQ
  • Emily from Haddon, NjStephen "The band's name derives from the average of amount of ejaculate after orgasm."
    Well I guess you are right, the actual average ejaculate is 9cc - the guys though they were one better...
  • Martin from Sheffield, United KingdomOh, and further to my previous comments..:"Well, if your chance came would you take it?" Obvious reference to experimenting with drugs.
  • Martin from Sheffield, United KingdomSorry to poop the party, but the Devil's in the detail. Most of the time LSD is taken orally by swallowing small squares of cardboard that have a design printed on them , such as Superman, ET or whatever. The actual LSD on the 'tab' is present in the ink that makes up the motif. Hence: " I'm hiding in the small print, will you take another look?" Look at some other parts of the lyric: "Oh, you'll never get me in one of these again, because what comes up, comes down.." Those of you who have taken LSD, will know that 'coming down' - ie when the trip is starting to wear off, is often an unpleasant time, accompanied by strongly depressive thoughts and negative emotions. The fact that the subject of the song is staring at a wall also points to hallucinatory experience - when tripping changing patterns on curtains and walls, etc can hold your attention for a very long time.
    The fact that some commentators are unwilling to acknowledge the obvious drug references here is probably partially due to their lack of knowledge re LSD and the like. I could be wrong, but being a 70s rock band, I'd be very surprised if they weren't using drugs at the time.
  • Colin from London, United KingdomI've never really understood what this song is about, but I think what Bob (of Columbus, Ohio) says comes closest to what I thought. It's still the only song I've ever heard to feature the "ping" for calling in flight attendants on a plane!
    Unlike their contemporaries Queen, 10cc are not as well remembered as they should be. True, after 1976, the group split up, and the Stewart/Gouldman version was not the same, but over the previous four years they produced a string of classic singles with witty and quirky lyrics, and amazing arrangements, eg I'm Not In Love. I also have the album The Original Soundtrack, which includes a song with a twist, one with all references to films, and another which is like musical theatre. I thoroughly recommend the group and this album.
  • Jon from Brighton, United KingdomThis matches the storyline of a so bad it's good B movie 'Come fly with me' 1963.
  • Stephen from New York, NyI was and remain a big fan of this band, who are somewhat like a British Steely Dan (musicianship/lyrics). The band's name derives from the average of amount of ejaculate after orgasm.
  • Mark from Adelaide, AustraliaThe song is a narrative piece. Back in the 70's in London and around the UK American Airline did have a marketing campaign that had a beautiful airline stewardess "Hi Iam Cindy Fly Me" there is a sexual innuendo with the fly me bit, but if you check on the web. The Atlantic crossing route had become competitive and it was a series of adds that were going around, if you check on the web you can see some of them.
    10cc were never a drug band they were a bit more mature than that., they had all come through the the 60's and early 70's as really good song writers rs
    to write a song about Mandies ...snigger snigger, this will be fun. Just doesn't gel, if you look at the depth of 10cc's work you will understand they were far to smart to write a song about drugs especially so blatantly, in the UK at the time the BBC - especially Radio one - controlled the airways and if it didn't get played the you didnt have a hit. If you research this song you will know that it is a carefully crafted song b some very good song writers, written in the studio, to craft a hit. Why riun your chances by singing about drugs.
  • Jez from London, United KingdomTo those who still insist on playing the idiotic 'drug' card - the band simply used the ad slogan as a catalyst for the song idea. Of course an airline isn't going to advocate plane crashes - the commercial came first, obviously! (Also should point out that this song isn't from 1974, but 1976 - it features on the band's fourth studio album 'How Dare You!')
  • Michael from Wellingborough, United Kingdom10CC were a highly talented cooperative with excellent vocal, musical and songwriting skills, and like most good songwriters would always be searching for great hooks. Effective posters can be a good source, and that airline campaign certainly had a high profile in the UK. I still remember it well.

    So Eric Stewart's comments ring true, particularly as 10CC were never linked to introspective druggy lyrics. But they were often very quirky.

    I admit that it's remarkable that the lyrics can be fitted quite well into a drug context, but I don't believe that was the inspiration. In the same way I trust John Lennon that Lucy in the Sky was not an LSD song, because he was not the kind of person to stick with an outright lie for so long.
  • Stephen Webster from Tokyo, JapanThe analysis that this song is linked to drugs lacks ANY evidence. These are just deranged ramblings of the under-employed. Cite evidence rather than what you think....10CC split up years ago and are hardly on best of chummy terms...I am sure some one would have "spilled the beans" by now if there were any to spill.. but I hear nothing but a credible link to a well known UK advert that was well known in the UK and the band was living and working in the UK. whereas .."mandies" was an unheared of term. Sorry but the evidence you present is non existent ..but good luck on the barry manilow defamation case..
  • Chrisc from Farnborough, EnglandChris again (original songfact lister). It nice to see the reaction between drug song or air company ad jingle....
    Mandrx (mandy the street name) did what the song, sang about (true from a 60-70s in the days dude).
    Just imagine a airline company running a advertisement compainge jingle about their plane that crashes in the sea, only as two survivers and the hostess runs off and leave you. I CAN SEE the customers lining up.
  • Jez from London, United KingdomThis song is not about drugs, for Chrissakes. People will do anything to attach some boneheaded drug reference to anything they don't understand. As others have suggested, it was a 'fantasy' based on a popular airline slogan of the early seventies. 10cc were way too arch to play the lazy drug card. (Apart from the album track 'Flying Junk', I'll accept that that song might well have been about a pusher - even though the band themselves debated this point in interview.)
  • Erik from Bloomfield Hills, MiIt's easy to twist almost any song to be about drugs. Sesame Street could be interpreted to be about meth if you think about it.
  • Hooksh from Melbourne, AustraliaIn a BBC radio interview, Eric Stewart stated:
    " American Airlines used to have this beautiful poster that they displayed of this gorgeous stewardess inviting you onto the plane. Now her name wasn't Mandy actually, it was something like, er, oh gosh knows, "I'm Cindy", a very American name. "I'm Cindy, fly me" which was a quite sexual connotation as well, but I remember seeing in Manchester this beautiful poster and just below it was this tramp, I mean a serious tramp, quite a raggedy guy, looking up at this girl, and I thought God, do you know, there's a song there. Look at that guy looking up at Cindy-fly-me and I know he's never gonna get on an aeroplane, I don't think, except in his dreams.

    So I brought it back, the idea back to the studio, where we were writing for the How Dare You! album, and put it to the guys: "Anybody interested in this 'I'm Mandy Fly Me'". I'd switched it to Mandy. And Graham said "yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I've got some ideas, I've got some chords. Let's slot those things in, try it, mess it around". We wrote it, and we didn't like it. We, we scrapped it. It just wasn't going anywhere.

    But, enter from stage left, ha ha, the "wicked villain" Kevin Godley, twiddling his moustache, says "I know what's wrong with it. Let's sit down again." He said "I think it just gets too bland, it just goes on, on one plane, your verses and your middles and your der-der-der, they're all going on the one plane. What it needs is someone to go 'Bash' on the side of your head". So we changed the rhythm completely, and we put two whacking great guitar solos in there, in the middle of this quiet, soft, floaty song. Once we'd got that idea in, it, it just gelled into something else. Again, impossible to dance to, as a lot of 10cc tracks were, but once Kevin had put that in, he became the third writer in the song so we were quite democratic in that way.'

    The song also opens with Clockwork Creep which is about a bomb on a plane.
  • Hooksh from Melbourne, AustraliaThe ad campaign story is true. Confirmed in a number of interviews. I belive they said it was after seeing a hobo sitting under one of the posters begging for spare change.

    The Goodies parodied the ad campaign as well.
    Tim Brooke-Taylor in drag says:
    "I'm Agnus. Fly me to Birmingham"
    Then from out of no where Bill (i think) jumps on his back as Tim runs around flapping his arms like a bird.
  • Stephen Webster from Tokyo, JapanIn response to Daryl of Stoke, you have missed the point. The song was written after the add. campaign. I thoght it was for Caledonian airlines personally compared to Ken's recollections. 10CC were so cever with lyrics though that anything is possible!
  • Tim from Prescott, AzConsidering this song as carefully as I can, I must side with the drug crowd. I mean sure certain lines may have been snagged from an advertisement. But this song must be about some kind of drug trip. I swear it's the only thing that makes any sense.

    BTW - I have a question: Was there really a girl in the movie Dr. No who perhaps saves Bond from underwater peril?
  • Kenny from Clydebank, ScotlandHere's me thinking it's a beautiful love song like 'Mandy'. It's a pill-popping tripping song in reality/fantasy. Still, it goes lovely places for awhile.
  • Bob from Columbus, OhMan, talk about forcing your own life's challenges into a song. This is clearly a song about a guy with an imagination that far exceeds what he accomplishes in life.

    He has heard many ads for the airline but never paid attention, then he saw the poster. It not only caught his attention, but cast him into a daydream... in which the girl (and her ad campaigh) drew him into the poster (and the adventure). He believed the girl had the hots for for him, but like all his relationships, he realized her interest in him was just part of the ad campaign. Then, as his luck typically runs, the plane crashed and he was in the water, threatened not only by a crash, and by drowning, but also by sharks. Finally, the girl who had convinced him to take this adventure came to his rescue and saved his life. She saw his value! However, when he tried to relate the story, nobody belived him... Which was the acid test for his fantasy failing.. and he awoke, standing before the poster, realizing that the safe choices he makes, avoiding any risk, is the best path... because with risk comes great danger and no reward. If it hadn't of been for Mandy, he may be inclined to take real adventures and suffer the real doom that always comes with them.
  • Beryl from New York, NyYeah, the song is not about a drug. It's a take off on the old ad campaign about the airlines. Hey, I am old enough to remember that! Also, 10cc confirmed it in an interview. If the song was about a drug, I think they would have admitted it. - Beryl, New York, New York
  • Daryl from Stoke, EnglandThis song is purely about drugs, open your eyes, the plane crashes. Now why would an airline company advertise crashes? Silly...
  • Jaap from Pasadena, CaThis song is not about drugs. It's about an ad campain for an airline company.
  • Ken from Edinburgh, ScotlandIn 1971, National Airlines ran a poster ad campaign with the slogan "I'm Cheryl (or other girls' names), fly me" - not popular with feminists!
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnSo does that make Barry Mannilow's "Mandy" about the drug too? LOL
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