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Escape (Rupert Holmes song): Wikis


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"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"
Single by Rupert Holmes
from the album Partners in Crime
Released 1979
Format 7"
Recorded 1979
Genre Soft rock
Length 4:34
Label Infinity/Geffen
Writer(s) Rupert Holmes
Producer Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes singles chronology
"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"
"Let's Get Crazy Tonight"

"Escape" (later known as "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)") was the highest-charting hit for Rupert Holmes, released off his album Partners in Crime. The song was also number one at the end of the 1970s and at the beginning of the 1980s. To this day, Holmes regards the song with a mixture of pride and chagrin; while it has made him wealthy and famous, as one of his friends described it, it is "the success that ruined his career",[citation needed] drawing too much attention from his more serious musical works.


Structure and origins

The song speaks, in three verses and three choruses, of a man who, disenchanted with his current relationship, reads the personals and spots an ad that catches his attention: the ad of a woman who is seeking a man who, among other things, must like piña coladas. Intrigued, he writes back and arranges to meet with the woman "at a bar called O'Malley's", only to find upon the meeting that his new lover is his current lover. The song ends on an upbeat note, showing that the two lovers realized they have more in common than they suspected, and that they do not have to look any further than each other for what they seek in a relationship.

Contrary to urban legend, the inspiration for "Escape" did not come from a similar event happening to Holmes. Recorded for 1979's Partners in Crime, the song came from an unused track for which Holmes wrote temporary lyrics (that version, "The Law of The Jungle", was released as part of his 2005 Cast of Characters box set), and the lyrics were inspired by a want-ad he read while idly perusing the personals. 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 chorus originally started with "if you like Humphrey Bogart", which Holmes changed at the last minute, replacing the actor with the name of the first exotic cocktail he could think of. Ironically, he does not care for the drink; he once opined on the Uncle Floyd Show that they tasted like Kaopectate.


After its release as a single, the song became immediately 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 charts, becoming the last number-one Billboard Hot 100 hit of the 1970s. Although some sources list this song as the first number-one hit of the 1980s, this is not true; the first chart of that decade, dated on January 5, 1980, was topped by "Please Don't Go" by KC and the Sunshine Band. "Escape", which was #2 that week, returned to #1 for an additional week on the January 12 chart, thus having the distinction of being the only single to rise to the #1 position in different decades.

"Escape" has made appearances in such movies as Shrek, Bewitched, Dirty Work, The Sweetest Thing, Detroit Rock City, Tommy Boy, American Splendor, Mars Attacks!, and Wanted.

Also on Mystery Science Theater 3000, during one of the host segments of Show #421 (Monster A Go-Go), Joel Robinson and the robots discuss the deeper meaning surrounding the song and critique the couple: "They don't even know each other likes piña coladas?! What, would they always panic and order Manhattans or something?"

The song was also the basis of a major episode storyline for the popular Australian television series Kath and Kim.

"Escape" was also heard playing on the radio during an episode of The Shield, when the Strike Team are sitting in a car. It has also been used in advertising jingles on Cape Cod, typically using only the In the dunes on the Cape line.

"Escape" was also referenced in the song "this party sucks" by the pop punk band The Wonder Years (band)

While Holmes has since had a successful career as a playwright and novelist, and fans feel affection for his other musical works, this song remains his most recognizable trademark. Holmes himself joked, "No matter what else I do, my tombstone will be a giant pineapple."[citation needed]


  • Performed by Kiki and Herb on the 2004 live album Kiki and Herb Will Die for You: Live at Carnegie Hall.
  • Sampled by Lady Saw for her song "Escape to Jamaica" from the soundtrack to the film How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
  • Recorded by Captain Jack to his album Cafe Cubar in 2003. The song has a very energetic and dancing beat.
  • Performed by Anal Cunt on their 1995 album Top 40 Hits.
  • Used by fast-food franchise Taco Bell as part of a 2009 ad campaign featuring Snowball, a dancing cockatoo.
  • It is occasionally played by Jimmy Buffett at concerts.
  • Rewritten with updated lyrics and performed by Da Real One in 1998[1][2]
  • Interpolated by Plies on "She Got It Made" from his fourth album Goon Affiliated.


Preceded by
"Babe" by Styx
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
December 22, 1979 and January 12, 1980
Succeeded by
First: "Please Don't Go" by KC and the Sunshine Band
Second: "Rock with You" by Michael Jackson


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