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 written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

6 thoughts on “Rupert Holmes, Piña Coladas and Annoying Lyrics”

  1. Not sure if Rupert will ever see it but I’d love to see his reply if he does!

    I loved your review of the single but as it went on I realized that this was coming from a female perspective and that can be so different – obviously – from a male perspective. Don’t think this will ever change, in spite of all the talk of equality etc.

    I think men basically realize early on that life is incredibly short, they can’t see the reasons for it really, but as we’re here, we might as well have a good time, if we can! No hurt whatever is intended, but yes it can happen, it’s very risky. But that’s a male thing too I think.

    Love the effort and thought you put into it though I tend to disagree with your viewpoint. For men, the magic is there or it’s not. Sitting down and discussing it just sounds so dull and sensible to us. We’re not deep thinkers. We worry about things that matter. Like for example, why didn’t Federer win when he had 2 match points in Wimbledon?!

    All the best,
    Christopher

    PS Your choice of Alfie is magic – great lyrics by the wonderful and too often ignored Hal David. A prayer and a quest of meaning of life in a pop song – by a man, oddly enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by this post from over three years ago! I hope you realise it was mostly tongue-in-cheek. It was just that I’d always liked the song and then heard it a lot again when it was used in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film but hadn’t really considered the lyrics before from a female perspective. As you say maybe we ladies just over-think relationships and always want to talk things through, but I did find it funny that in a short space of time he had decided he was tired of his lady, met up with a new lady via the personal ads, only to happily discover it was his own “lovely lady”. Quite funny really but maybe a message for us all in those lyrics.

      Yes, this blog used to be called “What’s It All About Alfie?” but after re-watching the film, I decided the main character was just a bit too misogynistic for this blog so changed it. Love Bacharach and David songs but as you say, Hal David is often ignored and Burt gets all the attention. So many of their songs that I’ve written about here, although I’m afraid Wives and Lovers also got a bit of a tongue-in-cheek slating, as again, sounds so wrong to our 21st century ears.

      What’s It All About indeed.

      Like

      1. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you Alyson. At my great age, I thought life was meant to be slower but not a bit of it!
        I didn’t realize the blog was some years back to be honest. I was hunting on the net for something to do with the great Jimmy Webb and I came across this. You have a wonderful natural way of writing and I loved your take on the song.I’m a bit of an anorak in that regard myself.
        Oddly enough, I’ve never seen the original movie of “Alfie” – back in 1966 we were in the middle of what years later we relalized was a golden age indeed for Pop Music and focussed more on that then. I must see it sometime if only for the great Shelly Winters. I loved her acting.
        Anyway, it’s been wonderful having these exchanges and I wish you long life, good health and happiness in a world gone a bit crazy at times.
        Take care,
        Paul.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi again Chrisptopher/Paul – Yes you should try and watch the film Alfie if only to gasp at how social mores have changed in the 50+ years since it was made. Then again, I suspect there are still a fair few Alfies about today, but they know they can’t be quite as blatant about their behaviour nowadays. Shelly Winters was very good in it and a great example of a strong woman from the era.

          As for Jimmy Webb, he has popped up on these pages many times, especially when I’ve been blogging about the songs he wrote for Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman is right up there as one of the best pop songs ever written. To many music aficionados, he is a god.

          Thanks for dropping by.

          Like

  2. Small point: I don’t think the wording of the woman’s personal ad reveals a distate for intelligence.

    More the opposite.

    I think “if you have half a brain” means “at least half a brain” and the bit about not being into yoga, given the 70s setting, could be read as looking for someone doesn’t get swept along by fads (as yoga would have been at that time), and therefore, someone who can think.

    Thanks for writing about the song though. Glad I found your blog.

    And I agree “like a worn-out recording of a favourite song” is the chat of a prick.

    Like

    1. Hi Paul – Thanks for dropping by. As I said to the last visitor who left a comment, this post was very much written tongue-in-cheek style, so not surprised you picked me up on some of my interpretation. Just made it a bit funnier (hopefully). Still a fine song that lots of people enjoy so none of us should be taking it too seriously. As you quite rightly say however, he does sound as if he is a prize prick!

      Like

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