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Looking Glass

To the outside observer, Looking Glass were one of the luckiest bands to come up during the early '70s -- and doubly so, coming out of New Jersey in 1972 with a number one hit, three years before anyone was thinking about Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, and getting radio play on the song that has carried over into the oldies and '70s nostalgia boom over the decades since. Ironically, the bandmembers were never entirely happy with either the hit or the nature of the success that it brought them, mostly because it didn't represent what Looking Glass actually sounded like.

The group was founded by Brooklyn-born guitarist/singer/songwriter Elliot Lurie, bassist Pieter Sweval, and pianist Larry Gonsky, all of whom were students at New Jersey's Rutgers University. In their original late-'60s incarnation, Looking Glass were successful playing frat parties and local clubs before splitting up in the early '70s after graduation. Eventually, Lurie and Gonsky linked up again with Sweval and drummer Jeffrey Grob (who had been playing together in a band called Tracks), and Looking Glass were reborn. A hard rock outfit with a lot of virtuosity, they decided to try turning professional and shooting for a real career; even as they got lots of work at clubs up and down the East Coast, they began writing songs and heavily rehearsing the new material. Their music impressed Columbia Records president Clive Davis, who signed them to the Epic Records label, and a debut recording session for the company was scheduled.

After two failed attempts at recording (including one with guitarist Steve Cropper in Memphis), they struck gold with a producer named Bob Liftin and a Lurie original called "Brandy." They went through a lot of different versions before coming up with one that worked, with unobtrusive strings and horns dubbed on and the group harmonizing more than usual. Initially released as the B-side of "Don't It Make You Feel Good" in early 1972, "Brandy" was overlooked (along with the A-side) until Harv Moore, a disc jockey in the District of Columbia, flipped the single over and took it up as a personal cause. The record broke out in the city of Washington and spread rapidly, peaking six months after its release at the number one position. A self-titled debut album was released in the spring and was more representative of the group's sound. Although it didn't sell nearly the way the single had, it performed well enough, riding the charts for 16 weeks. Unfortunately, Looking Glass were never able to emulate "Brandy's success, and their next few singles failed to chart. It was a year later before another single, "Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne," reached the Top 40 for the group.

These chart successes didn't really do as much as one might have expected for the group, however. Neither hit single sounded very much like the band did on-stage -- much more representative were fast-paced rock & roll songs like "Jenny-Lynne" and "Don't It Make You Feel Good." They were a long way from the horn and string overdubbed singles by which radio listeners knew them, and inevitably many concertgoers were disappointed in their shows, which emphasized the rock & roll songs over the catchy AM pop they'd released so successfully. Lurie, wearied over the contradictions in the group's success, left Looking Glass in 1974 and embarked on a short-lived solo career that yielded a solo album and a series of unsuccessful singles. He also played live locally in the New York-New Jersey area, including a gig with Al Kooper at New York's Bottom Line. When Clive Davis founded Arista Records in the mid-'70s after being forced out of Columbia, Lurie was signed to the new company but failed to find a hit.

The other members of Looking Glass stayed together for another year, playing out their string as "Lookinglass" without a recording contract and a decreasing audience, until they called it quits in the middle of the decade. By the end of the 1970s, Lurie was no longer a performer and had moved into the motion picture business, working in music. He has supervised numerous scores, including The Last of the Mohicans, and wrote or produced the music for Night at the Roxbury, Alien 3, Mary Katherine Gallagher: Superstar, Perfect, Die Hard 2, Dying Young, and a remake of Miracle on 34th Street, among other films. Lurie and Sweval revived Looking Glass as a touring band in 2003 and hit the road with a show that included their hits, album cuts, and cover versions of rock and pop favorites from various decades. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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Great song!!!!
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One day, I'm going to write and direct a feature film about Brandy, and tell the story exactly as Lurie and team described it.
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Memories
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The 70's were great.
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Always loved this song. Mr. Gonsky was my childrens' music teacher in school. He is soo talented and a really nice person, too.
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Bet Brandy is smoking hot. I'm thinking Red hair!!!! Thank you Alison Nelson, from Gemini jr high in Niles IL. You are the Red head I wish I met 10 years later.
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loooove!
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dragonlady60 8 8
I love this song!"""
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The one and only time on stage, when he pulled me up to sing that song to...in Charleston, SC. Young and innocent wonderful times!!
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I married Brandy.
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I too loved this song in my youth. I liked the idea of adventure on the seas. But even in my pre-adolesce n t years, I couldn't figure out how he could trust Brandy when he was gone all the time
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Brandy: I LOVE THIS SONG
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Loved my desert boots.
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Love it!!!!!!!!! Songs like this reminds me of yesteryears. WOW. Did ever listen.
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kelly_frehle y
Favorite song of all time for me!! Brings back so many happy memories of my childhood.
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I wish I was born just 40 or 50 years earlier when this music and music like franki valli and the four seasons were huge. for some reason i am rejecting new music (obviously). it stinks. all they sing about are drugs and stuff.
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krispe27 - be comforted that your brother's music has stayed with us all these years and is appreciated. My condolences.
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ddemar - I turned 12 that year as well and I was already boy crazy. Everything you mentioned I remember. Ah - the good days. Takes me back to summers in the Bronx.
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If I Remember, this group reformed in to a group called Starz, Which Produced a Hugh Hit Coliseum Rock!
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dodea48
the sailor wss obviously gay
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KR
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Yup. The summer of 72. 8 tracks phasing out and cassettes moving in. Root Beer brown Ford Pintos, waffle stompers and desert boots....... . . . . . . . . . . . .
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petewilliams a g e n c y
I really loved this song when it came out. I had a little rock band and I wanted our band to play it, but there was no way to pull it off.
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does anybody remember transistor radios, single headphone earpieces, Frisbees and Twister? lol I link this band with the summer of 1972 ? which happened to be when I turned 12 and INEXPLICABLY and SUDDENLY and THANKFULLY wanted to chase GIRLS insead of baseballs :-)
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Good, clean pop music. Oh yeah!
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I am tried of this song
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life however if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop . This is so scary put this on at least 5songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life however if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop . This is so scary put this on at least 5songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
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mbb30705
I have loved this song and Brandy, You're A Fine Girl since I was 8 years old...both songs make me feel happy ;-)
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Brandy You're A Fine Girl love this song.
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Love it
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qtrolazyg
@krispe27 sorry about your loss. The bio really needs updating!
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The Dick Panthers are better.
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krispe27
So glad so many people like this song by LG. Interesting that Lurie and my brother, Pieter Sweval, toured in 2003.....Pie t died in 1990 and is still missed terribly by those who loved him and his talent as a poet and lyricist.
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Wore the 45 out. Recall it was included on one of the K-Tel records of the time, too!
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I too named my daughter after this song. But changed it to Brandie.
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anditclee
Love it
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I miss this kind of music.
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Some of the members of Looking Glass formed Starz a very good hard rock band, who had some minor hits Sing it shout it, and Cherry Baby,and two very fine albums in Violation and Coliseum Rock
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Brandy is one of my favorite songs of all time brings back memories
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atlantavirtu a l
They don't make music like this anymore!
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Markman I did also tho I had her in 1980 I always knew her name would be Brandy.
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I had a very happy childhood and hearing thee songs brings back the best memories!!
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markman216
Named my Daughter after this song
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Don't read this because it actually works.you will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life.Tomorro w will be the best day of your life.However if you don't post this you will die in two days.This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will cone not he screen in big letters.This is so scary bDon't read this because it actually works.you will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the ecause it actually works!
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Love, love, love this song.
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I was named after this song...
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OOOOH!!! Baby BABY !!!
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kbuchl
love this song, takes me back, takes me home
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Always liked this tune.
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