Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)
|"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"|
|Single by Looking Glass|
|from the album Looking Glass|
|B-side||"One by One"|
|Released||May 18, 1972|
|Length||2:55 (Single remix/edit)|
3:10 (Album mix version)
|Producer(s)||Mike Gershman, Bob Liftin and the Looking Glass|
|Looking Glass singles chronology|
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" is a 1972 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 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, stuck behind Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)", before reaching number one, only for "Brandy" to be dethroned by "Alone Again (Naturally)" the week after. Billboard ranked it as the 12th song of 1972. Horns and strings were arranged by Larry Fallon.
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's long since left her because he claimed his life, his love, and his lady, was “the sea.”
Lurie also refutes the suggestion that the song was written by songwriter Stephen Homner, and eventually sold to Elliot Lurie after Lurie expressed interest in the song.
Before and after
In February 1972, Robert Mandel was the Epic Records Promotion Manager in Washington, D.C. 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/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 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 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 Harv celebrated his 10th Anniversary at WPGC, Looking Glass returned the favor and played at the bash the station held in his honor.
Barry Manilow's "Mandy"
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. This song is not related to the song by Looking Glass.
In popular culture
- This song was used in the films Lords of Dogtown, Say Anything..., Charlie's Angels, A Very Brady Sequel, Lymelife, and the 2018 Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman. 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.
- 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.
- 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. In TV series companion book "The Simpsons Uncensored Family Album" Marge wrote that her paternal grandmother once told her that the song "Brandy" was based on Marge's paternal grandfather's life.
- The song is included on the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It appears in the opening scene and again in a scene on Ego the Living Planet, when Ego uses the lyrics as metaphor to explain his experience as a cosmos-wandering Celestial who fell in love with Peter Quill's mother on Earth. Ego called the song "one of Earth's greatest musical compositions, perhaps the greatest."
Name popularity effect
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, 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.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a cover version of the song on their Live in Hyde Park album and during their 2004 tour. They again performed it in May 2017 for the first time in twelve years.
- 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.
- Kenny Chesney performed a cover version for the Target Bonus Tracks on his 2005 album The Road and the Radio.
- Gonzalez performed a cover of this song released as a single on the EMI label. 
- Ray Conniff and His Singers covered the song on the 1972 album Alone Again (Naturally).
- Elliot Lurie—Guitars, vocals
- Larry Gonsky—Keyboards, vocals
- Piet Sweval—Bass, vocals, harp
- Jeff Grob—Drum kit
- Larry Fallon—Horns arrangements
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine (April 28, 1998). "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) [Sony] - Looking Glass | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
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- "The urban legends of 'Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)'". tennessean.com.
- The Tennessean (December 14, 2016), Story Behind the Song: 'Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)', retrieved August 24, 2017
- Huey, Steve. "Mandy". Allmusic. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
- Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire:Truth Be Told. Pocket Books. p. 240.
- Hiatt, Brian. "Inside the 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' Soundtrack". Rolling Stone.
- "Popular Baby Names". Ssa.gov. August 26, 2009. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "Gonzalez - Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) / White Lightning". Discogs.com. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)