Arts & Entertainment

Talking Pina Coladas With Rupert Holmes at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School

3d89191969c667b47ac1_e61799a00a389e43c387_Rupert_Holmes_close.JPG
Rupert Holmes, best known for writing and recording "The Piña Colada Song" spoke to students at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School about songwriting and performing. Credits: John Mooney
3ff2b443231176a9503d_rupert-holmes-escape-the-pina-colada-song-infinity-2.jpg
272c7b5b3112abfc3bd5_3f00a90dd93716d1e5be_Rupert_Holmes_-_YouTube.jpg
Rupert Holmes performing "The Piña Colada Song" in the early 1980s. Credits: YouTube
3d89191969c667b47ac1_e61799a00a389e43c387_Rupert_Holmes_close.JPG

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Anyone old enough to have been listening to AM radio -- when stations still primarily played music -- in 1980 would recognize the ubiquitous strains of "Escape," better known as "The Piña Colada Song" by Rupert Holmes.

The song tells the tale of a couple who "were together too long" and both secretly decided to find a more suitable companion in the newspaper personal ads. The two potential lovers detail their likes (including Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain) and dislikes (yoga and health food) and set up a rendez-vous at a bar called O'Malley's where they would plan their escape. The plot twist comes when the husband and wife instantly recognize each other and realized there was so much about each other that they both never knew.

The song skyrocketed up the Billboard charts in late December of 1979 and hit #1 as the year ended and held the spot into the new year, 1980. Holmes’ anthem of lovers' angst became an iconic song of the 1980s and has reached new generations through films, including Shrek, Grownups, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as TV shows, such as The Simpsons, Six Feet UnderWill and Grace, and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

Sign Up for E-News

In 1979, there was an element of adventure associated with personal ads.  

"When I wrote the song, writing a personal ad was still something of a novel idea, and a little scandalous," Holmes said in an interview with TAPintoSPF. "It wasn't common back then, while today, dating sites are more commonplace."

How would the song be different in the age of eHarmony, Match.com, and Tinder?

"The song is a bit dated now. People aren't writing to newspaper personal ads anymore," Holmes admitted. "It would be different. I had thought about updating it, but fans of the song would be upset. Some things are best left unchanged."

Fun facts about "The Piña Colada Song"

  • The original lyrics were: “If you like Humphrey Bogart and getting caught in the rain.”
  • The line ‘If you like Piña Coladas' was written 5 minutes before Holmes recorded it. ("The vocal you hear on the record is the first time I ever sang the song.")
  • Although there was a bar called O'Malley's near where Holmes lived at the time, he didn't  realize it until after he had written the song.
  • The song was originally titled “Escape” with no reference to the tropical drink. When it started receiving air play, people called radio stations asking for “The Piña Colada Song.” It stuck.
  • Record company executives gave the song a subtitle, changing it to “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” and explained to Holmes that it would not sell if they didn’t. 
  • Before the song became a hit, there weren't many places in the U.S. where you could get a Piña Colada. Afterward, one could order the cocktail just about anywhere.

"The Piña Colada Song"

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 Piña 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 Piña 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 Piña 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"

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Brunswick-Cranbury

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 29, 2:00 PM

Otto Kaufman Community Center, Skillman

Relax, Rejuvenate, Renew

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_655bff643922e36ca526_color_me_flyer_final_cut__3_-page-001

Sat, May 5, 9:00 AM

Sewaren

Color Me Run to End Domestic Violence

Sat, May 5, 8:00 PM

Bergen Performing Arts Center, Englewood

New Jersey Ballet's An Evening of Romance and ...

Arts & Entertainment

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Gun-wielding suspect drives robbery victim to bank with two young children in tow

April 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers police are investigating a lunchtime robbery on Tuesday in front of Campbell Hall, 617 George St., on the College Avenue campus, which involved two young children and a trip to a Somerset Street bank.

The victim, who is affiliated with Rutgers University, reported that he was walking near Campbell Hall dorm at 12:30 p.m. when a vehicle, ...

South Brunswick: Mayor Killmurray’s Funeral Plans Announced, Township Prepares For Administration Change

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Township officials announced funeral plans for Mayor Christopher Killmurray and plans to deal with filling his position and a second one on the Council.

Killmurray, 55, died at home Sunday morning after battling brain cancer for several years.

According to the township, a viewing is scheduled for 3-7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church at ...

South Brunswick: Mayor Christopher Killmurray, 55, Dies

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Township Mayor Christopher Killmurray died at home Sunday morning, officials announced.

In an alert to residents, Township Manager Bernard Hvozdovic said that Killmurray, 55, passed away at home surrounded by his family after battling brain cancer for several years.

A Democrat, Killmurray was first elected to the Township Council in 2003 and served as deputy ...

Op-Ed: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a huge blow to the middle-class

April 11, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

State Attorney General Releases Princeton Panera Shooting Video

April 9, 2018

TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office today released surveillance footage related to the March 20th shooting at Panera Bread in Princeton, New Jersey, during which state troopers fatally shot Scott L. Mielentz, 56, of Lawrenceville, N.J.

The shooting remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team (“SRT”).  However, certain ...

April 12 Webinar "Are You Stressing Your Horse Out?

Dr. Williams will be hosting the webinar "Are You 'Stressing Out' Your Horse? Understanding Types of Stress & How to Manage or Reduce Each."

The presentation will be next Thursday, April 12th at 12:p.m. To join the webinar go https://demo.bigbluebutton.org/b/rooms/ca-70ef9c13/EquineStressWilliams prior to the meeting. 

Test your connection early to ensure ...

Somerset: KPS Garage Offers Spring Time Special

Don't let the weather fool you Spring is here, and KPS Garage is offering a special new and existing customers!

1) Freewheel alignment with the purchase of four tires

2) Spring has Sprung Special $29.95

Change oil & filter 
Free tire rotation
Free 30 point safety inspection

exclusions apply

3) Free pair of Bosch wiper blades with any service or ...