Most days my head is all over the place when I ride. Other times, I’m hyper-focused on just one thing — to the point that I can think of little else. Two nights ago was one of those nights.
Earlier in the month, Big Todd and The Monsters released a recording of the song Brandy, via YouTube. Originally recorded by Looking Glass in 1972, the song was a huge radio hit when I was 10 years old. Brandy was subsequently released on a K-Tel compilation album the same year. I owned Brandy both as 45 RPM single, and on the K-Tel album which included it.
In 1972 I had a portable record player that could close up and could be carried by a handle — like a small suitcase. Brandy, along with Harry Chapin’s, Taxi were the only two records I owned for a while. I would later add Don Mclean’s American pie, which had been recorded a year earlier in 1971, and Elton John’s Rocket Man, also from 1972.
Brandy remains one of my favorite songs, a regular earworm, and a song I still listen to digitally at least a couple times a month. I think it’s a near-perfect pop song. I also think my affinity for shipping ports and harbor communities is in large part due to that song working its imagery into my young brain.
Last week when I saw the Big Head Todd cover of Brandy I was blown away. The Boulder-based band are hometown heroes, and I’ve been a fan since day one. Brandy is a hard song to cover, which is why it hasn’t been done successfully to this point. Todd Park Mohr’s voice is a perfect fit for the song. The inclusion of the brass arrangement and the added background vocals put this song in a rare category for me — better than the original.
I’ve watched the video probably 20 times now, maybe more. Each time it gives me chills. Last night when I was riding, I sang Brandy in my head, from beginning to end, over and over again. It’s pretty much all I thought about for 29 miles.
I did think about one other thing while I was riding the other night, in-between the rolling karaoke in my head. I remember being with my mother at a Kmart at East Evans Avenue and Monaco Boulevard in Denver when I was 10. I begged her to buy me that portable record player, which was light blue with gray stitching for the trim. I also asked for two records, Taxi by Harry Chapin and Brandy by Looking Glass. Mom being mom, she caved and I got my wish. I would sit in my room and listen to those records again and again for hours.
That little record player was the first portal I ever encountered — the one which allowed me to leave my house and leave my life, without ever leaving my bedroom. Give a kid a record player, and he’ll always have a doorway to a better world.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This week by the numbers…
Bikes ridden: 7
Avg Mph: 15.5
Seat time: 13 hours 12 minutes
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Big Head Todd And The Monsters. Enjoy…