Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)

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"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"
Brandy - Looking Glass.jpg
Single by Looking Glass
from the album Looking Glass
B-side"One by One"
ReleasedMay 18, 1972
Recorded1972
GenreSoft rock[1]
Length
  • 3:10 (album mix version)
  • 2:55 (single remix/edit)
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)Elliot Lurie
Producer(s)Mike Gershman, Bob Liftin and the Looking Glass
Looking Glass singles chronology
"Golden Rainbow"
(1972)
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"
(1972)
"Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne"
(1973)
Music video
"Brandy" on YouTube

"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" is a 1972 song by American pop rock band Looking Glass from their debut album, Looking Glass. It was written by Looking Glass lead guitarist and co-vocalist Elliot Lurie.

The single reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box Top 100 charts, remaining in the top position for one week. It reached number two on the former chart for four weeks, behind Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)", before reaching number one, only to be dethroned by "Alone Again (Naturally)" the week after. Billboard ranked it as the No. 12 song for 1972.

Meaning[edit]

The lyrics tell of Brandy, a barmaid in a busy seaport harbor town which serves "a hundred ships a day." Though lonely sailors flirt with her, she pines for one who has long since left her because he claimed his life, his love, and his lady, was “the sea.”

The urban myth that Brandy was based on Mary Ellis (1750–1828), a spinster in New Brunswick, New Jersey,[2] has been refuted by Lurie himself.[3]

Lurie was thrilled with the deeper meaning given to the song when its lyrics were used as a metaphor by a father explaining his life's choices to his son in the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which came out in 2017.[4]

Release[edit]

In February 1972, Robert Mandel was the Epic Records Promotion Manager in Washington, D.C. He received a test pressing of an album by Looking Glass, then a new group. He took the test pressing around to every radio station in the Washington/Baltimore region. At the time, WPGC AM/FM was one of the leading Top 40 stations in the country and was the number one radio station in DC. Harv Moore was the Program Director. He put the song into a one-hour rotation for two days and as Moore 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 15 years in radio. Based on the airplay at WPGC and all the other Top 40 stations that 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. A year later when Moore celebrated his 10th Anniversary at WPGC, Looking Glass returned the favor and played at the bash the station held in his honor.

Influence[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] 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.

Barry Manilow's 1974 "Mandy" was a cover of a song originally titled "Brandy", released in February 1972 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.[6]

Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS wrote that "Brandy" helped inspire the band's 1976 hit "Hard Luck Woman" in his 2014 memoir Face the Music: A Life Exposed.[citation needed]

The 2005 song "Same Old 45" by Sarah Borges, from the album Silver City, retells the story of Brandy from her point of view.

In popular culture[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • Elliot Lurie—Guitars, vocals
  • Larry Gonsky—Keyboards, vocals
  • Peter Sweval—Bass, vocals, cowbell
  • Jeff Grob—Drum kit
  • Larry Fallon—Horns arrangements

Chart performance[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (April 28, 1998). "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) [Sony] - Looking Glass | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  2. ^ "Mary Ellis Grave". weirdnj.com. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  3. ^ "The urban legends of 'Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)'". tennessean.com.
  4. ^ "'Brandy' Songwriter on How 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' Finally Gave His Hit a Deeper Meaning". The Hollywood Reporter. May 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "Popular Baby Names". Ssa.gov. August 26, 2009. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  6. ^ Huey, Steve. "Mandy". Allmusic. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
  7. ^ Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire:Truth Be Told. Pocket Books. p. 240. ISBN 9781439184523.
  8. ^ "Gonzalez - Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) / White Lightning". Discogs.com. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "Big Head Todd and the Monsters - Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)". youtube.com. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  10. ^ "Local H Roar Through Yacht Rock Classic "Brandy"". August 3, 2021.
  11. ^ "Brandy - Looking Glass (feat. the Back of the Bus Band) Among Friends (Ep. 4)". YouTube. September 23, 2022.
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on October 22, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". www.flavourofnz.co.nz.
  15. ^ SA Charts 1965 - 1989. Songs A-B. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 143.
  17. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles September 2, 1972. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "British single certifications – Looking Glass – Brandy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  20. ^ "American single certifications – Looking Glass – Brandy". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 13, 2022.

External links[edit]