Rupert Holmes, Piña Coladas and Annoying Lyrics

Writing last time about the Jimmy Webb song MacArthur Park and its bizarre cake lyrics led me to think of another “food and drink” song from the late ’70s – Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes. (Excuse the double lyrics but the best version I could find).

Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes:

Until now I thought I had always liked this song as it has a jaunty upbeat chorus, but listening to it again has just made me very angry. Maybe it’s because I’ve now been married for nearly 25 years, but if “he was tired of his lady” maybe it was time for a frank discussion about what was going wrong and how to fix it, not resort to the personal ads. Their relationship was, according to the narrator, “like a worn-out recording, of a favourite song”. Now sadly with a story song like this, sung in the first person, you can’t help but think of the person doing the singing, and watching the video clip, Rupert (Steve Wright in the afternoon anyone?) looks as if he’s just come off the golf course. Combine that with his dad-dancing, smugness and overly literal actions and he looks about as uncool as humanly possible in 1979 – Looking a bit like a worn-out recording yourself Mr Holmes.

And then it gets worse – He replies to a personal ad placed by a goodtime girl who likes having sex outdoors (piña coladas and making love in the dunes), and doesn’t care about intelligence or fitness levels (have half a brain and not into yoga). What red-blooded male having problems with “his lady” wouldn’t reply?

pinacolada

So it is night time, but he has managed to read the personal ad, submit a response (which wasn’t half bad so he thought – grrr) and in the pre-internet era managed to be all set for a meeting in a bar (?) the following morning. By now I am highly dubious as to the character of the person he is likely to encounter but lo and behold it turns out to be his own “lovely” lady (what happened to the “old” lady he was tired of). Oh how they laughed – Really? You place a personal ad and the person who turns up is the person you are trying to escape from – Yes, what a jolly time they must have had mid-morning at O’Malley’s, chiding each other playfully about how little they knew each other. What had they been doing all the time they were together for goodness sake? Sleeping and reading newspapers by the sound of it.

So there we have it – Another food and drink song with ridiculous lyrics. Starting to see a pattern here. I also think that this was a song I’d only ever heard on the radio so I didn’t know what Rupert Holmes looked like. Not possibly someone you would, in the fantasy world of song lyrics, dream of having piña coladas and sex on the beach with, so it’s kind of spoilt it for me.

Before I sign out though I came across this “Sims” clip that re-enacts the song – I remember my daughter spending hours on her Sim families but she never thought of doing this one I’m sure. Made me smile and made me a little less angry with the silly lyrics.

Escape (The Piña Colada Song) Lyrics
(Song by Rupert Holmes)

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 love that 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
I’m the love that you’ve looked for, come with me, and escape”

dunes

Postscript:

I’ve said before that I never intend to cause offence in this blog but here I am ridiculing a song that was actually a big hit for Mr Holmes so plenty of people must have enjoyed it back in the day. Also, he did spend most of the ’70s writing songs for other people so by 1979 it was high time he had some fun singing his own lyrics and who am I to say whether he looked cool or uncool (he looked uncool).

The story to the song does have a “twist”, which on a superficial level could have been quite funny, but even 37 years ago I doubt if any couple in the same situation would have really seen the humour. I am trying to be magnanimous here but I can see I am digging myself an even bigger hole. Definitely time to sign off and in the unlikely event that you ever read this Rupert Holmes, I am very sorry!

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

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