Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by alphanguy, Jan 29, 2016.
Pina Colada is an ok song.
I like all those songs but...
I like Rush, but they're second (sometimes third) tier prog rock. I like their singles a lot and a couple albums are worth owning, but most of the time, a Rush album has two or three good tracks and the rest is filler. They don't stray far from their comfort zone so a Rush binge all melts together rather quickly. I never paid much attention to the lyrics and I much prefer Geddy's vocals when he switched to a lower register, around the time that Moving Pictures was released in 1976.
Rupert Holmes had a lot of failures before hitting it big with Escape, and I really like his album from 1974 called Widescreen even if it's a bit cheesy and dumb in places. It is, in turns, melodramatic, satirical, deadly serious, tragic and funny. Escape takes the cheese factor even further and gives us a predictable twist to the old "looking for action on the side" tale. But a little Rupert Holmes goes a long way and I tired of Escape very quickly. It's one of those things you only need to hear once.
The only degrees of success Mr. Holmes had up to this point was in two realms: as "Street People," with a single "Jennifer Tomkins" in late 1969; and as a songwriter, with The Buoys' "Timothy" in 1970-71. But that some got tired of "Escape" sort of reminded me of the guy in that song viz his "lady."
Can't stand this song but I guess I can understand its appeal to the 30 and 40-somethings of its time. It's become something of a cult hit and the Yacht Rock Revue never fail to include it in their shows. Rupert Holmes' much-less popular followup, "Him," is marginally better.
I.I.N.M., "Escape" can now be heard on some radio ads for Bounty paper towels, "The Quicker Picker Upper." It's one of those where, if something spills, it slows down to a stop.
Coincidentally, I just heard "Escape" on the radio this evening. It does get played surprisingly often on the easy listening station here, which always leaves me wondering how many Australians know where The Cape is.
I did a certification course a couple of years ago in teaching English as a foreign language, and our instructor played it for us as an example of...actually, I can't recall of what. What I do remember is, one of my fellow students had never heard it before, but she guessed the ending correctly.
I was pretty happy as 1979 came to a close. A few weeks earlier, my all-time musical hero, Herb Alpert had hit number one with "Rise", and here at the close of the year, my little-known hero also hit number one with "Escape".
In 1974, I picked up Rupert Holmes' first Epic album called WIDESCREEN from a throwaway pile at the radio station I was working for. I loved that album the first time I played it - and I played it often. It was one of those little-known discoveries that you and only you know about. Every one of my buddies got a taste of that album, and they all liked it too. It is my understanding that it was a bigger factor in England and the Philippines, but here at home in the States, it went nowhere - except for those of us who indeed had discovered it.
Rupert followed that up with two more albums for Epic, one was self-titled and one was oddly called SINGLES. When one titles an album, "SINGLES", it usually implies a sort of greatest hits album and connotes a collection of singles, but not with Rupert. His was titled after a song on the album which cleverly dealt with the "singles scene" and other uses of the word. As I recall, the only track of his to this point that I ever heard on the radio was "Weekend Lover" from that third album. It was played for a short time and then quickly dropped.
Rupert moved on to the Private Stock label with an album called PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. This one had another track that played quickly on radio, but went nowhere, called "The Long Way Home". By this point, he'd amassed quite a string of single-45 releases, with little to show for it on the charts. It didn't matter to me. All of his albums to this point had great stuff on them, and I was only too happy to be the man's "only fan."
Then it happened. Rupert moved again to Infinity Records, and "Escape" parenthetically titled ("The Piña Colada Song") so as not to confuse folks with its one-word real title, actually shot up the charts to number one. When you've been rooting for a guy for five years, hearing him hit it big is quite satisfying. And while "Escape" gets derided as a "hear it once and that's enough" song, I'll happily put it in my little special category of really happy chart-happenings. "Him" was the followup hit, and also on the album you'll find "Answering Machine", a song that got recorded to the message side of many answering machines in the early '80s.
Though Rupert Holmes followed up with two more albums, ADVENTURE and FULL CIRCLE, he never again tore up the charts like he did with "Escape" and "Him". Doesn't matter - I still really like the guy's music.
Oh, and if you're looking for a good digital copy of "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)", steer clear of the original MCA CD (MCAD 10841). It's muffled and really crappy sounding. I made a better copy with a needledrop from clean vinyl, but there are remasters of the song out there on compilations that sound better.
I also like the fact that Rupert's big little hit manages to belong in two different decades.
This is a fascinating interview with Mr. Holmes. In fact the whole series is excellent.
Episode 115 – Rupert Holmes
Good recounting of Rupert's great past work.
I'm not really that familiar with his singles/LPs before Escape, except for this gem, which hit No. 72 on the Hot 100 a year before Escape.
A local Top 40 FM played it a lot.
It's a great song that really sounds like a Top 40 hit, and should've been.
I became familiar with Timothy, by The Buoys, from the early 70s, only in the 80s when I began listening to oldies radio.
Escape has the distinction of being the only No. 1 hit to rise to the top spot in 2 separate decades.
I'll get to that after the next No. 1 is mentioned (don't want to reveal it yet).
Don't forget that despite a lack of hits betweeen 71-79, Mr. Holmes got a second wind via Barbra Streisand. Babs was having a new stereo system installed and the technician used his "Widescreen" LP as a demo disc. She was so taken with the material that she covered the title cut on her Lazy Afternoon album in 75 as well as made him the main producer of the project. He also was going to be the main composer for the "A Star Is Born" soundtrack - "Queen Bee" and "Everything" were completed before he walked away from it - citing the craziness of Streisand & Jon Peters as the main culprit. Despite that, the soundtrack was a huge smash so his royalties carried him for years as he went from label to label before hitting it big with "Escape."
Pina Colada Song is cute and tuneful but kind of just a background song to me. Likeable enough. Gets drunk people singing.
Ruper Holmes - Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
I can see the attraction of the easy-going feel, hell, I'm a huge fan of relaxing, but there's something about the vibe that's just too...weak. I don't feel any passion in the music, which should always be there. The chorus is catchy, both in the lyrics and the melody. It's memorable, that's for sure. There are always songs where the entire thing is based around the chorus and the rest of it might as well not even exist. This isn't the first one we've seen and it won't be the last. A catchy chorus can take you a long way. Overall it's a boring song, though.
"Escape" is a guilty pleasure for me. I love the relaxed, reggae inflected groove. As much as I like this song, I actually prefer the followup, "Him".
Songs ranked by Billboard in top 25 for the the year 1979 that didn't reach number one on Billboard:
Y.M.C.A by Village Peolple - Peaked at #2 (#8 song of 1979)
When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman by Dr. Hook - Peaked at #6 (#13 song of 1979)
Makin It by David Naughton - Peaked at #5 (#14 song of 1979) (I do not remember this song at all)
Fire by The Pointer Sisters - Peaked at #2 (#15 song of 1979)
A Little More Love by Olivia Newton John - Peaked at #3 (#17 song of 1979)
Stumblin' In by Suzi Quatro - Peaked at #4 (#23 song of 1979)
Lead Me On by Maxine Nightingale - Peaked at #5 (#24 song of 1979)
Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) by The Jacksons - Peaked at #7 (#25 song of 1979)
#1 songs not in Top 50 for year - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson & Rise by Herb Alpert (due to time of year on chart).
Sail On by The Commodores - Cash Box #1 was #98 song for year
Songs ranked in Top 50 songs of year that peaked lowest:
Don't Cry Out Loud by Melissa Manchester - Peaked at #10 (#26 song of 1979)
I Was Made For Dancin' by Leif Garrett - Peaked at #10 (#37 song of 1979)
The Gambler by Kenny Rogers - Peaked at #16, #1 Country (#40 song of 1979)
Lady by Little River Band - Peaked at #10 (#42 song of 1979)
Heaven Must Have Sent You by Bonnie Pointer - Peaked at #11 (#43 song of 1979)
I was living in Alaska at the time and "The Gambler" was definitely big on the radio there; as were "Don't Cry Out Loud" & "Lady".
Songs that peaked lower than I expected on review:
I Need A Lover by John Cougar peaked at #28
Dog & Butterfly by Heart peaked at #34
You Know That I Love You by Santana peaked at #35
Rapper's Delight by Sugarhill Gang peaked at #36
Message In A Bottle by The Police peaked at #74
Beautiful Girls by Van Halen peaked at #84
Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd - Did Not Chart
The Sad Cafe by Eagles, All My Love by Led Zeppelin, Who Do You Love by George Thorogood, and I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide by ZZ Top were not officially released though I heard them played on local radio stations.
The Pina Colada song is a classic in my book. One of the best of the year.
So I guess this is it for no only 1979, but the 1970's overall...
Once again, here are all the #2 peaking songs of the year 1979
1. The Village People - Y.M.C.A
2. The Pointer Sisters - Fire
3. Sister Sledge - We Are Family
4. Earth Wind & Fire - After The Love Has Gone
5. Donna Summer - Dim All The Lights
Not a lot of #2 hits this year at all...
Speaking of Rupert Holmes, I have a single by him called "I Don't Wanna Hold Your Hand" which uses parts of the Beatles melody but slows it waaaaaaay down and has alternate lyrics (obviously).
The "corporate rock" label was also used derisively by (usually) snooty punk fans.
Something about his vocal, or mix rubs me the wrong way. It's quite aggressive.
Whatever it is, I hate the song.
Have you checked in on the Billboard R&B thread lately?
One of the greatest songs of the era.
Love the rich, lush vocals.
I bought the LP.
The only chart history it made is due to the calendar. To me, that's not really history, it's just fortuitous timing.
I won't spoil your thunder though.
Last week, the episode of the Goldbergs that was on ABC on Wednesday night (which was a rerun from last January) --- prominently featured "Escape".
Escape is a cultural thing. A well known song.
While it's not my favorite, and I prefer other Rupert Holmes songs over this one (his, by far, biggest-seller), I don't detest it.
I think "Him" is definitely the better song. It should have been the #1. But like I said, we were coming to the end of the era where guys like Holmes could become big stars. He finally broke thru 2-3 years too late.
Yeah, they re-released it on CD and it sounds like crap too, as do all of the online versions I've found. Flat as a pancake. Would be nice if somebody spent more than 30 seconds properly mastering it... It sounded better on the radio in 1979.
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