|"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"|
|Single by Rupert Holmes|
|from the album Partners in Crime|
|Released||September 21, 1979|
|Length||4:35 (album version)
3:50 (single version)
|Rupert Holmes, Jim Boyer|
|Rupert Holmes singles chronology|
"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" is a song written and recorded by British-born American singer Rupert Holmes for his album Partners in Crime. As the lead single for the album, the pop song was recommended by Billboard for radio broadcasters on September 29, 1979, then added to prominent US radio playlists in October-November. Rising in popularity, the song peaked at the end of December to become the last US number one song of the 1970s.
The song speaks, in three verses and three choruses, of a man who is bored with his current relationship because it has become routine and he desires some variety. One night, he reads the personal advertisements in the newspaper and spots an ad that catches his attention: a woman who is seeking a man who, among other little things, must like piña coladas. Intrigued, he takes out an ad in reply and arranges to meet the woman "at a bar called O'Malley's", only to find upon the meeting that the woman is actually his current partner. The song ends on an upbeat note, showing that the two lovers realized they have more in common than they had suspected, and that they do not have to look any further than each other for what they seek in a relationship.
After its release as a single, the song became immediately popular, though initial sales were slow due to the song's actual title, "Escape", going unnoticed in the place of the oft-repeated cocktail. Holmes reluctantly agreed to rename the song "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)". The song shot up through the charts, becoming the last number-one Billboard Hot 100 hit of 1979 (and the last number one song of the 1970s). "Escape" returned to number one again on the Billboard Hot 100 charts during the second week of 1980, having been displaced for a week by KC and the Sunshine Band's "Please Don't Go". Thus it is the only pop song to ascend to #1 on the Billboard pop charts in two different decades.
The song was the 11th best selling single of 1980 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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Recorded for Holmes's Partners in Crime (1979) album, the song came from an unused track for which Holmes wrote temporary or "dummy" lyrics:
This version, "The Law of The Jungle", was released as part of his Cast of Characters (2005) box set and was inspired by a want-ad he read whilst idly scanning the personals one day. As Holmes put it, "I thought, 'what would happen to me if I answered this ad?' I'd go and see if it was my own wife who was bored with me." The title of the song was originally going to be "People Need Other People", which was written years earlier for Holmes' own amusement.
The original lyrics said, "If you like Humphrey Bogart and getting lost in the rain." On the way to the session the next morning I read the lyrics to a cab driver and asked him if he got the twist ending before I got to it. He said no, and he thought the story was good. When I got to the session, I turned to my guitarist, Dean Bailin, and said, "I've just written a lyric. It's a story song. I don't want you to get ahead of it, so I'm going go on mic and sing the song without stopping. If I don't sing a line perfectly I'm not going to stop because I want you to hear this song in one listening. Pay attention to the lyric because I want to see if it catches you by surprise."
Holmes regards the song with a mixture of pride and chagrin: while it has made him wealthy and famous, it drew attention away from his more serious musical works. He does not care for the drink; he once said on the Uncle Floyd Show that piña coladas taste like Kaopectate.
The bar "O'Malley's" that is referenced is an actual bar. The bar is in Greenport, Long Island, along the famous North Fork Wine Trail