Are you wondering who Looking Glass is after reading the title? If you didn’t know the hit song Brandy from the 70s, you probably heard it on Guardians of the Galaxy when it came out.
Yes, Looking Glass is the band behind Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl.) But what happened to them? Were they a one-hit-wonder?
We dived into the Internet to learn more about this classic 70s band.
Let’s jump in!
The Story of Looking Glass
While attending Rutgers University in 1969, Elliot Lurie and his pals, Larry Gonsky and Pieter Sweval, decided to start a band. Elliot played lead guitar, Pieter was on bass, and Larry played the piano. Both Elliot and Larry sang vocals. The band had great success performing at local frat parties and clubs but split after college.
Soon, though, they got the band back together and brought in drummer Jeff Grob. Focused on their Jersey Shore hard rock style, they quickly signed with Epic Records and began recording their first studio album.
Before that self-titled record release in 1972, they put out the single Don’t It Make You Feel Good with Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) as the B-side. Both flopped until a DJ named Harv Moore found and played the B-side. He promoted the number in his Washington D.C. area, where it became popular and eventually spread to the rest of the country.
Six months after releasing the single, it hit #1 on the Billboard chart and held for a week. Overall, Brandy charted for 16 weeks, and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) certified it gold in 1973.
Later that year, Looking Glass released their second album, which had only one Top 40 hit, Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne.
Elliot Lurie left in 1974 to try a solo career, and the remaining members renamed themselves later that year.
Tell Me More About Elliot Lurie
There’s not a lot of information out there, but we know Lurie was born in Brooklyn in August 1948. From there, we jump to college at Rutgers, where he met up with the rest of his Looking Glass bandmates.
After leaving the group in 1974, Lurie released one album and one single, neither of which charted. Since then, he’s been writing songs and even became 20th Century Fox’s music department head. Elliot has also worked on the music for several movies, including A Night at the Roxbury, Alien 3, and I Spy.
In the 2010s, Nicholas Niespodziani of Yacht Rock Revue invited Lurie to join him on stage. After explaining what yacht rock is, Niespodziani told Elliot that Brandy was one of the most popular songs in the genre.
After this experience, Lurie started singing, writing, and playing locally in Los Angeles. He continues to play out in intimate settings. He also has an active Facebook profile where he posts upcoming gigs and other people’s odes to Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl.)
Who Was the Song, Brandy, Written About?
Brandy doesn’t have much hidden in the lyrics. She tends bar near a good-sized harbor where sailors come and go. She’s loved and lost. Not because her sailor died on the seas, but because he was married to the sea.
The sailor said, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
But my life, my love and my lady is the sea”
She’s alone and has only a locket with his name to keep her company. Why, if as the other bar patrons say, “Her eyes could steal a sailor from the sea,” did her sailor leave?
The heartbreak lies in that she knew he would but loved – loves – him still anyway.
But he made it clear he couldn’t stay
No harbor was his home
You alternately wish for her sailor to return to stay someday or for Brandy finally to let go and find another love.
Is Looking Glass a One-Hit Wonder
“One-hit wonder” depends on how you define ‘hit.’ Is a hit in the top 100 or 40? Or do you limit it even further to the top 10 or just #1?
If you’re looking strictly at charted songs, the answer is no. They aren’t a one-hit-wonder. As we mentioned above, Looking Glass had another number, Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne, reach #33 on the Billboard Hot 100.
However, the dictionary (yes, we looked) defines it as “a musical group that has achieved recognition based on only one widely popular song.”
Well, then. How many people remember Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne? Do you hear it played on oldies stations regularly? If someone asked you to name Looking Glass’s top three hits, could you have named more than Brandy?
For the most part, only die-hard Lurie or Looking Glass fans know and love the remainder of the band’s tunes. However, we don’t consider their discography ‘widely popular.’
Sadly, it seems that Looking Glass truly is a one-hit-wonder. That said, scoring a gold certification for a B-side number is a mean feat.
Is Looking Glass Still Together?
Elliot Lurie once again got the band back together in 2003. They toured, playing their own songs and covers. But, eventually, they split again. We couldn’t find anything hinting that they might ever return. At this point, Lurie seems happy with playing at small venues.
Despite the band’s short life, its hit, Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl), has stayed in our cultural hearts and minds for over 45 years. What’s your favorite memory associated with Brandy? Is it just a fun song in a superhero movie, or did you sing it to someone special?