You may not have realized that it is the 62nd birthday of Rupert Holmes today (February 24, 2009). If you do not know, Holmes is a singer-songwriter and author who has released 16 albums, 3 books and 12 musicals/plays since 1974. He wrote the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood which won 5 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1986 and is currently writing a musical version of the film The First Wives Club which will be on Broadway later this year after an initial run in San Diego.
His works have won Tonys, Emmys and Edgars, but despite all of that, Holmes is probably best known for the song "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" and this is what this issue of Kickin' it is all about (likely to the dismay of Rupert Holmes). Holmes himself has been quoted saying, "I have a feeling that if I saved an entire orphanage from a fire and carried the last child out on my shoulders, as I stood there charred and smoking, they'd say 'Aren't you the guy who wrote The Pina Colada Song?' No matter what else I do, my tombstone will be a giant pineapple."
Well, I am going to take Holmes' birthday to recognize the cheesy but likable song from 30 years ago. It was released on his 5th album titled Partners In Crime. We will start out with a video for "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" in case you need your memory refreshed:
The video included the song's lyrics, but I have included them again here again below: I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long. Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song. So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed. And in the personals column, there was this letter I read:
If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain. If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape. I'm the lady you've looked for, write to me, and escape.
I didn't think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean. But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine. So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad. And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it wasn't half-bad.
Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne. I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape. At a bar called O'Malley's, where we'll plan our escape.
So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place. I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face. It was my own lovely lady, and she said, "Oh, it's you." And we laughed for a moment, and I said, I never knew...
That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne. If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape. You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape.
If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain. If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape. You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape.
I don't care what anybody says, I really like that song. Some of you might be saying, that song was released in 1979, not in the 80s. Well that is technically true, but "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" was ranked #1 on the very last Billboard Hot 100 chart of the 70s decade. It slid down to #2 on the very first Billboard Hot 100 chart of the 80s (January 5, 1980 was topped by "Please Don't Go" by KC & the Sunshine Band). Then "Escape" actually returned to #1 the following week (on the January 12, 1980 chart) and has the distinction of being the only song to rise to the #1 position in different decades. So, I consider it an 80s song and I have enjoyed it every since.
Here are a couple interesting facts about this song (at least I find them interesting): The original lyrics said: "If you like Humphrey Bogart and getting caught in the rain." Holmes used a lot of movie references on his previous albums, so he decided to try something else: "I thought, 'What can I substitute?' Well, this woman wants an escape, like she wants to go on vacation to the islands. When you go on vacation to the islands, when you sit on the beach and someone asks you if you'd like a drink, you never order a Budweiser, you don't have a beer. You're on vacation, you want a drink in a hollowed out pineapple with the flags of all nations and a long straw. I thought, 'Let's see, there's Daiquiri, Mai Tai, Pina Colada - I wonder what a Pina Colada tastes like, I've never even had one.' I thought that instead of singing 'If you like Humphrey Bogart,' with the emphasis on 'like,' I could start it a syllable earlier and go 'if you like Pina Coladas.'"
According to Holmes, "When you hear The Pina Colada song, the story was written the night before, the line 'If you like Pina Coladas' was invented about 5 minutes before I started actually singing, and the vocal you hear is the first time I ever sang the song, and that became the vocal you hear on the record."
The song was originally just titled "Escape" with no subtitle referencing the pina colada. When it started receiving radio air play, people started calling in to the station asking to hear it. The problem was that they were asking for "The Pina Colada Song" and the official title was "Escape." This hurt sales because people would ask for "That song about Pina Coladas" at record stores and the stores had no idea what they were talking about. The record label wanted to change the title to "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" and told Rupert it wouldn't sell if they didn't. So that is why it has the subtitle.
If you want to find out more about Holmes, you can visit his website at www.rupertholmes.com. This song tends to get polarizing opinions meaning you either like it or hate it. I find it charming and poetic. Happy Birthday Rupert Holmes and even though you have done some other impressive work in theater, television and music, I am one of those who will always remember you as the guy who sings The Pina Colada Song. And to me, that is not a bad thing at all.
That's all I have for this short issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading any of my other 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" has popped up in pop culture many times over the years. This includes movies like Shrek, The Sweetest Thing, American Splendor, The General's Daughter, Bewitched, Dirty Work, Detroit Rock City, Tommy Boy, Mars Attacks! And Wanted. It also includes television like The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, Will and Grace, The Shield and Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was even featured in a Super Bowl commercial for American Idol. In the ad, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is in a locker room, and dreams of singing this song. His dream is interrupted by a custodian, who tells him: "I loved that song, until you ruined it." Big Ben can't sing too well, so it is a little funny but even more so very relevant to this issue. You can watch it here yourself:
Quote of the day: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles by author Marianne Williamson (& stated by character "Timo Cruz" played by Rick Gonzales in the 2005 film Coach Carter)
My kind of post OS! *hic!*
LOL! - Love the Steelers commercial too!
posted by: bawdy (reply)
post date: 02.26.09 (12:04 am)
Interesting facts. That sure is a catchy song. I've always liked it.
posted by: CoolStuffForDads.com (reply)
post date: 02.27.09 (6:24 pm)
Sort of hard to admit, but I too like that song - "catchy" is the right description for it. XM radio offers a 70s and an 80s channel, I have both programmed on my presets.
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