An intimate interview with Elliot Lurie on '70s hit song 'Brandy' at 50


Elliot Lurie is a singer and songwriter best known for the hit “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)”.  Recorded by Looking Glass, featuring Lurie on vocals and guitar, “Brandy” was released in the summer of 1972.  It quickly rose to the top of the charts, selling over a million copies and becoming one of the most played radio records of the year. Over time the song has endured, recorded by such disparate artists as Kenny Chesney and Red Hot Chilli Peppers and  featured in numerous films and TV productions including Charlie’s Angels and The Simpsons. It was prominently featured in the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2  in which Kurt Russell’s character describes it as “possibly Earth’s greatest composition”

1972's "Brandy" - 50 years old and she's still a fine girl

Lurie and his band Looking Glass, who one member jokingly described as four lucky hippies from Jersey, experienced stellar success with Brandy. The song rose to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles charts, the U.S. Cash Box Top 100 singles chart and the Canadian RMP singles chart. The album made it to No. 113 on the U.S. Top 200 albums that year. Fifty years after that hit song, Looking Glass’ remaining band members — Lurie, Larry Gonsky and Jeffrey Grob are still going strong.

None of the band members were music majors; they played music because they loved it. They also performed at local bars and clubs around campus while a few towns over their contemporary, Bruce Springsteen played the bars and clubs in and around Asbury Park.

The Song

“Brandy” has had many interpretations over the years; some say its story of lost love is an allegory about the music business and being on the road with your music taking priority over relationships. Others say Lurie based the song on Randye Jensen, a girl he dated in high school from the Brooklyn neighbourhood where he grew up. But Lurie maintains the lyrics were pure imagination but the song was dedicated to Randye. He tells me she was very excited about it when she found out, once it had become a hit.

No-one expected “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” to endure. Least of all, ELLIOT LURIE. The song has been on constant radio rotation since 1972.  Elliot is surprised by the song’s staying power and admits it has certainly helped him build a career. 
Elliot reveals that the song was recorded multiple times, first in the farm house, then again in a demo studio, and then again with Steve Cropper in Memphis. When Clive Davis heard the song, he wanted studio musicians to help finish it, but Looking Glass insisted on playing their own instruments. 

Elliot Lurie today

"It doesn't surprise me that it was a number one hit record at the time as it does how well it has endured. It's endured better than a lot of records that were much bigger hits at the time." -Elliot Lurie

Elliot Lurie has enjoyed a successful music career spanning well over 50 years. He’s not only been a singer/songwriter but has spent many years as a music director on several film scores. During the course of this interview he tells us all about his career path but keeps coming back to the fact that without Brandy, his musical career may never have gotten off the ground. As he puts it ” it was luck and fate that led to the song becoming a hit.” He does add, however, that many people may not know that Looking Glass definitely wasn’t a ‘one hit wonder’ – they did score another Top 40 hit. Do you know which one that was?

If you’d like to learn more about Elliot Lurie, head for his website and if you’ve enjoyed this interview, you may like to check out some of my others like the story of one of the greatest songwriters on the planet, Roger Cook

or the story of John Ford Coley – half of the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley

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