“Brandy,” the hit single by Looking Glass, made a big impression on me when it was released in 1972.
First, it came out about a year after the classic Dark Shadows ended its run on ABC TV. I was still happily hungover from its daily dose of ghosts, vampires and werewolves—to be honest, I still am—and the lyrics to “Brandy” evoked in me a sense of ethereal loneliness that I still feel almost fifty years later whenever I hear the song.
At one time—and, no, don’t ask me when, because I have no idea—I thought that perhaps “Brandy” could be a vampire story. Yes, of course, her sailor/lover was bound to the sea . . . but perhaps he was an undead, as well. I always had two images, of Brandy, walking through a village street at night, her cloak tight around her; and the image of Brandy standing far out on a wave-splashed dock, waiting for her lover in the darkness.
I never thought I’d ever see anything close to the image that “Brandy” summons in my mind, but director Karel Reisz and cinematographer Freddie Francis captured it almost perfectly with Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
So, that idea, plus the era the song came out, plus the song’s love story, plus my love for Dark Shadows . . . somehow they all commingled together when my lovely wife first gave me the initial idea for Ghostflowers.
Music, especially classic rock and roll, is all-important to Ghostflowers, just as rock and roll was all-important to every American teenager growing up in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, when radio was still king. Rock pervades every paragraph of my novel, whether it’s mentioned or not, so every few days or so I’m going to present here a song from my imaginary Ghostflowers soundtrack.
When it gets closer to publication time, I’ll compile a playlist and post it on YouTube, Spotify and Pandora, to play while reading the novel.
Until then, here are not one but two of the tunes that influenced me in the writing of Ghostflowers: “Brandy” and the “Theme from Dark Shadows.”
By the way: the subtitle to Ghostflowers is A LOVE STORY. WITH BLOOD.