Oh those one hit wonders of the 1970s – with Escape (The Pina Colada Song) it was the song that put Rupert Holmes on every radio station across North America.
Released in September 1979 as a single from Holmes’ album Partners in Crime, the song was inspired by Holmes curiosity in the personal ads and wondered what would happen if he responded or found out his wife had placed an ad.
The song’s original title was People Need Other People.
The song’s story is a man who has become bored with his relationship with his wife, reads the personal ads and spots an ad from an intriguing woman who wants a man who among other things likes pina coladas. The irony is on meeting the woman, its his wife.
Despite the title Escape, Holmes added the tag line The Pina Colada Song as many listeners were calling the song by that phrase.
Heading up the Billboard charts, it was the last number song of the 1970s and a rare song to be number one in two different decades as it hit number one again in the early weeks of 1980.
The song was number one in the United States and Canada, as well as top five in Australia and New Zealand. Endlessly played on local radio, I remember this song well – but really only remember the reference to pina coladas, and didn’t really listen to the lyrics. It was one of those songs that everyone remembers but not always would know the lyrics.
Despite the success of his career in the 1980s and consequent decades, Holmes is well known in popular culture for this song, a soft rock classic example of the late 1970s.