Rupert Holmes’ first solo album, Widescreen, was released in 1974 and included the famous single “Our National Pastime”, which received heavy radio play but did not sell as well as it deserved. Rupert didn’t see his name on any of the major charts.
On December 22, 1979, after ten years of performing, paying dues, and recording several solo albums, he hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”. It reached the top ten in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Became number one in Canada and in the top 30 in the UK. All of this attention helped Partners In Crime to go gold in the States.
Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” was the last number one hit of the 1970s. This light-hearted song about a romantic rebirth attempt turned into romance took the airwaves by storm, and it was the first and only number one hit Rupert Holmes had of his career.
However, the song is not a real hit. The singer’s album “Partners in Crime” also contained two more popular songs: “Him” and “Answering Machine”, but neither of them even came close to the top of the charts.
Holmes never saw this level of chart success again. His career took off in several directions and he became a hugely successful show tuner, playwright, television writer, novelist and more. At the same time, The Getaway proved its timelessness by playing on the soundtracks of a number of major films such as Mars Attacks!, Shrek, and the superhero blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy.
Rupert Holmes was working on his fifth album, and in the end, he and his musicians came up with a tune with a drum beat – Holmes called it “reggae inverted”. Holmes unsuccessfully tried to attach various texts to the melody. For his fifth album, he needed a fast song to balance the ballads, so he decided to record “Escape”.
Suddenly, he wondered what the first thing a couple would do on a romantic getaway was, and decided that they would have an adult tropical drink. The words “piña colada” had the right meaning. Later, the singer admitted that in his entire life he never tried this drink.
Rupert Holmes wrote several Broadway plays, including Say Goodnight, Gracie, and The Edwin Drood Mystery. He wrote songs that were performed by Barbara Streisand and Britney Spears. He created the television series Remember WENN and wrote the novel Where the Truth Lies. His work has won many awards. Despite all this, he is best known for the song “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”.
The meaning of the song
“Escape (Pina Colada Song)” invites you to sit on the beach and relax, and the melody is so flawless that you can even ignore the story told in the lyrics. However, Rupert Holmes weaves a clever sense into this hit that makes it more serious than just a beach song.
If you look closely, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” is actually a song about two lovers who have reached the point of stagnation in their relationship, and both begin to think about finding something new through newspaper ads.
The hero of the song responds to an ad in the newspaper. The author of the ad is very specific about the fact that he is looking for a new lover. This author is a “lady” who is looking for someone spontaneous and adventurous.
The couple ends up finding each other through ads, and thus the song ends with the lovers happily reunited.
Parsing the meaning of strings
The text “Escape (Song of Pina Colada)” tells the story of two lovers. The first verse is about a male narrator who is fed up with his current relationship.
He decides to open the newspaper with curiosity and find his way to the secret section while his lover sleeps next to him. There he finds an ad that says:
If you love making love to the fullest
in the dunes on the cape, then I am the love you were looking for. Write to me and we’ll run away.
This intrigues him, he admits to himself that he definitely likes this idea.
The hero of the song does not think about how his lady will react to this. He understands that this is not good, but is clearly not overly concerned about it. He admits that his relationship has fallen into a boring routine and therefore decides to place his private ad in the same newspaper in response.
The song goes on to say that he doesn’t want to waste time getting to know this beautiful woman. He’s ready to meet her tomorrow afternoon at a bar called O’Malleys. There they will plan how they will run away together.
From the lyrics of the song, you can imagine the main character sitting in the corner of the bar and impatiently waiting for the arrival of his girlfriend. Despite the fact that he met her through the classifieds section of the newspaper, he has high hopes for this meeting.
Then, when she finally enters, he recognizes her immediately, from her smile to the curve of her body. The woman who posted the personal ad was the same beautiful lady who slept next to him in the first verse!
Another refrain depicts a couple reunited because they have a lot in common that neither of them knew they had. It turns out that these two have been the perfect couple all along. Instead of escaping to new partners, they elope together, like two lovers reconnected.
“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” became Holmes’ most successful song.
To some extent, he began to resent this carefree song. Holmes said that she eclipsed the rest of his career, and crossed out all his further achievements.
He joked a lot about it. He talked about how even if he carried a child out of a fire on his shoulders, he would still be asked: “Aren’t you the guy who wrote pina colada?” The listeners were interested in whether it was based on real experience, but he answered that it was just a scenario.
This is one of the most popular guilt songs of all time. She talks about infidelity in a relationship and leads to a comedic twist at the end. Not surprisingly, four decades after its release, the song continues to influence listeners.