Escape (The Piña Colada Song)
|"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)
|Producer(s)||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 is featured in many films such as Shrek, Guardians of the Galaxy, Grown Ups, the Netflix movie Like Father, NBC's Third Watch and ABC's The Goldbergs. The song was also featured in episodes of Splitting Up Together and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
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 day, he reads the personal advertisements in the newspaper and spots an ad that catches his attention: a woman 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 the two lovers realised 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 quickly became 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 US charts, becoming the country's last number-one Billboard Hot 100 hit of 1979 and of the 1970s. "Escape" was knocked out of the top spot but returned to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart 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 chart in two decades.
The song was the US's 11th-best-selling single of 1980 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Background and writing
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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."
The bar "O'Mally's" that is referenced is an actual bar. The bar is in Greenport, Long Island, along the famous North Fork Wine Trail.
- Rupert Holmes – vocals, keyboards, synthesizer
- Dean Bailin – guitar
- Frank Gravis – bass
- Leo Adamian – drums
- Steve Jordan – "double drumming" with Adamian
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- List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of 1980
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- If a decade is measured instead by the traditional definition of a ten-year period starting on 1 January in a year whose last digit is "1" and ending on 31 December in a year whose last digit is "0", then Chubby Checker's "The Twist" is the only pop song to ascend to #1 on the Billboard pop charts in two different decades, once on 19 September 1960 (inside the decade 1 January 1951 - 31 December 1960), and again on 13 January 1962 (inside the decade 1 January 1961 - 31 December 1970).
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