Looking Glass – Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)

1st April 2024 · 1970s, 1974, Music
This song caught my eye, if not my ear, the other day when I spotted it included in a list of the best-selling songs of 1972… at number one.
Which was weird as I’d never heard of it, let alone heard it.

It’s not to my taste, though it is very much of its time, and I wanted to know more, so I looked it up and found that while it topped the US charts it was never a UK hit.

I guess we were too busy with Slade, Sweet and T.Rex to care when Looking Glass (and is there a more ’70s band name than that?!) put out Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl).

So who were they? They were an obscure college band from New Jersey and this song was originally a B-side that appeared on their self-titled debut album in 1972.

There was no real-life girl called Brandy, though singer Elliot Lurie had a high school girlfriend called Randy, so he changed her name for the song just to ensure listeners realised the object of his affection was a girl and not a guy, which would have been inconceivable in 1974.

Not just a girl but a barmaid, who lives in the middle of “a port on a western bay” serving drinks to sex-starved sailors passing through on the way to their next port. “Your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea,” they tell her, though Brandy’s heart already belongs to another mariner whose name she wears on a locket around her neck.

Pointlessly, as it turns out, because he is married to the sea and the peripatetic life of a sailor, leaving poor Brandy to wander the streets of her imaginary harbour town pining for her absent mariner.

And what happened to Looking Glass? Well they did manage a minor hit the following year with a song called Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne before Lurie left the band to pursue a solo career that never took off.