"Brandy" was a hit in 1971 for Scott English in the UK and in 1972 for Bunny Walters in New Zealand, but achieved greater success when covered in 1974 by Barry Manilow in the US with the title changed to from "Brandy" to "Mandy" to avoid confusion with Looking Glass's "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)". His version reached the top of the US Hot 100 Singles Chart. Later on, it was recorded by many other artists. Irish boyband Westlife had a UK number one with their version in 2003.
Under the title Brandy, the selection's original title, the song charted in 1971 for Scott English, one of its co-composers, whose version of it reached number 12 in the UK Singles Charts. It was also released in the United States, where it was a minor hit, reaching the lower ends of the Hot 100.
The suggestion that Scott English wrote the song about a favorite dog is apparently an urban legend. English has said that a reporter called him early one morning asking who "Brandy" was, and an irritated English made up the "dog" story to get the reporter off his back.
In the three years between English's and Manilow's recordings, Looking Glass's "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" had hit number-one in 1972. Therefore, to avoid confusion, when Manilow decided to record the selection, he changed the title to "Mandy". It was Clive Davis who suggested that Manilow record the selection. Joe Renzetti arranged the record.
In the Manilow version, the first two lines from the fourth verse following the instrumental section, were omitted, being:
"Riding on a country bus/ No one even noticed us."
Accomanying Trivia regarding the song: a disproven 'urban legend' from the 1970's has it that this was an original Manilow composition, (which is not the case) that was dedicated to Brandy, his Saint Bernard who ran away or died, and worked out his grief through the song. Whether Manilow owned any pets is uncertain (unlikely because he toured a lot then), but with its touching appeal I had heard the story from several sources a a youngster after ts release. Perhaps its original title fueled the speculation. In fact, the story gained traction briefly then faded out fairly quickly. Whether Manilow knew of the erronious story and discredited it himself or knew nothing about it remains unclear, but is an interesting sideline trivial history attached to the song.
"Mandy" was covered by Irish boyband Westlife in 2003 and was released as the second single from their fourth studio album, Turnaround. The single peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart to become the band's twelfth number-one single on the chart. The single sold over 190,000 copies in the UK. The single was released on Monday, November 17, 2003.