Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)

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"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"
Single by Looking Glass
from the album Looking Glass
B-side "One by One"
Released May 1972
Format 7"
Recorded 1972
Genre Jersey Shore sound, soft rock[1]
Length 2:55 (Single remix/edit)
3:10 (Album mix version)
Label Epic Records
Writer(s) Elliot Lurie
Looking Glass singles chronology
"Golden Rainbow"
(1972)
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"
(1972)
"Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne"
(1973)

"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" is a 1972 pop song written and composed by Elliot Lurie and recorded by Lurie's band, Looking Glass, on their debut album Looking Glass. The single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, remaining in the top position for one week. Billboard ranked it as the 12th biggest song of 1972.[2] Horns and strings were arranged by Larry Fallon.

Song info[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

The lyrics tell of Brandy, a barmaid in a port town. She falls in love with a sailor who gives her a locket that bears his name. In the end, Brandy is left in love with "a man who's not around." Brandy may have been based on Mary Ellis (1750–1828), a spinster in New Brunswick, New Jersey.[3]

Before and after[edit]

In February 1972, Robert Mandel was the Epic Records Promotion Manager in Washington, DC. He received a test pressing of an album by a new group named "Looking Glass". He took the test pressing around to every radio station in the Washington/Baltimore region. At the time, WPGC AM was one of the leading Top 40 AM stations in the country and was the number one radio station in DC. Harv Moore was the programme director. He decided to play the test pressing at night and as Harv related at the time, “the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree”. He said that he had never received a response like that on a record in his 20 years in radio. Based on the airplay at WPGC and as all the other Top 40 stations followed, Epic rush-released the single of “Brandy". Based on requests alone, two weeks later, when the single finally hit the stores, "Brandy" was the number one record in DC without a single copy yet sold. Other stations around the country started playing it and it ended up being a number one million seller.

Barry Manilow's, "Mandy"[edit]

Barry Manilow's 1974 "Mandy" was a cover of a song originally titled "Brandy" by Scott English; however, Manilow changed the title following the success of the Looking Glass single, so as not to get the two songs confused.[4]

Usages[edit]

This song was used in the films Lords of Dogtown, Say Anything..., Charlie's Angels, A Very Brady Sequel, and Lymelife. It was also used in an episode of the 2009 television show Harper's Island, and it can be heard in the background in a scene set in the longshoremen's bar in Season 2 of The Wire. A Beautiful Music instrumental version can be heard in the background when Chris Knight is touring his potential future employer in the film Real Genius.

In The Simpsons episode "Principal Charming", Selma sings the song (using a slower, mournful tempo and tone) to Lisa as she is putting her to bed. Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) sings this song at karaoke in an episode of The King of Queens.

The song appears in the computer game "Tropico 2", which takes place in a user-created seaside pirate town. One of the citizens' thoughts is "Brandy, you're a good girl. You'll do fine!"

On the album Silver City by Sarah Borges, the song "Same Old 45" retells the story of Brandy from her point of view.

Fantasy author Alex Bledsoe used Brandy's name and the song's story for his novel Wake of the Bloody Angel.

Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS wrote that Brandy helped inspire the band's hit Hard Luck Woman in his 2014 memoir Face the Music: A Life Exposed.

Name popularity effect[edit]

Following the song's release in 1972, "Brandy" increased in popularity as a girl's name in the United States. According to data from the Social Security Administration,[5] drawn from "Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States," Brandy was the 353rd most popular name in 1971, 140th in 1972, and, in 1973 (the first full year after the song's popularity), 82nd.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Washboard Jungle often performs this song as an encore, and recorded it on their 1994 album The Wash Cycle. They play it considerably faster than either the original or the Chili Peppers version.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Cashbox Chart[6] 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles[7] 1
WLS survey (Chicago) [8] 1
UK 51

End of year charts[edit]

End of year chart (1972) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[9] 9
WLS survey (Chicago)[10] 5
Canadian RPM singles ?

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
August 26, 1972 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan