“Ah, so that’s what Looking Glass looked like.” That’s what I thought to myself, today, when I watched the band’s performance of its 1972 No. 1 hit, “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl),” for the first time. (See video below.)
I was 11 years old in ’72, so of course I heard the song a million times on the radio back then, and many times more in the years to come. But I never saw the band in concert, or owned one of their records. And back in ’72, it was possible to like a band and have absolutely no idea what they looked like (today, I realize, it’s a very different story).
So anyway … Looking Glass formed at Rutgers University in New Brunswick in 1969. Band members broke up, then got back together again, and got signed by the legendary record executive Clive Davis to Epic Records. “Brandy” — about a barmaid in a port town whose “eyes could steal a sailor from the sea” but is still left alone, when the sailor she loves is far away, and “does her best to understand” — wasn’t a hit when it was first released. But a DJ in Washington, D.C., got behind it, and the rest was history.
Looking Glass never had another major hit, though they did have a minor one, “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne,” in 1973.
By the end of 1974, they had broken up, with singer-songwriter-guitarist Elliot Lurie going solo and the other three band members launching a popular hard rock/heavy metal band, Starz. Lurie never had much success as a solo artist, though he eventually made a name for himself behind the scenes, working as a music producer and music supervisor for film and TV projects.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.
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