Rupert Holmes

Discussion in 'A Small Circle of Friends: The Music Forum' started by Harry, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    If anyone is familiar with Rupert Holmes, they are likely recalling the big hits "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" or the followup "Him" which did well on the charts in the early 80s. While I like those too, my passion is for three little-known Rupert Holmes albums on the Epic label in the early-mid '70s. Cherry Red in the UK has just released this package devoted to those three albums.


    Three CD set. English-born New Yorker Rupert Holmes may be best known for his hit singles 'Escape (The Pina Colada Song)' (1979) and 'Him' (1980), but several years prior to this, Rupert broke onto the music scene with three meticulously crafted albums for the Epic label in the space of two years. These albums were full of perfectly told stories of love, life and loss, and paved the way for Rupert's ascendancy to the big time. These three albums are now available together in one package, fully endorsed by Rupert, and containing engrossing sleeve notes including a brand-new interview with Rupert himself. Contains an array of bonus tracks, many of which have never been heard before, and with an absolute exclusive and a must for fans - this package contains the first ever live recordings of Rupert Holmes ever released! All selected by the man himself! Contains the singles 'Terminal', 'Talk', 'Our National Pastime', 'I Don't Want To Hold Your Hand', 'Deco Lady', 'Weekend Lover' and 'Who, What, When, Where, Why', plus rare alternative and live versions of a number of these. All material has been fully remastered, with audio being sourced from Rupert's own private collection of master tapes wherever possible. Contains CD wallet replicas of the Epic albums, faithfully reproducing their original artwork.

    I am a huge fan of these three Epic albums, particularly WIDESCREEN. I had just started working in radio in 1974 and was intrigued that the station threw out perfectly good records. I looked through that first pile and grabbed anything that looked interesting. I'd never heard of Rupert Holmes, but the notations on the songs on the reverse of the album cover grabbed me.

    Under "Widescreen" it said "Prepare for Bar 25." Well I just *had* to hear *that*.
    Under "Our National Pastime" it listed a cast of characters that included "Warren Hitler" and actress Alice Playton who I recognized, plus new lyrics and arrangements for the Star Spangled Banner!
    "Soap Opera" claimed to have the largest number of words in a pop song.

    And all of those - and all of the others delivered - big time. I loved the big orchestrations and surprisingly loved the lyrics to just about every song. I nearly never pay attention to lyrics.

    Anyway, I already own the very first CD of WIDESCREEN on Varese Sarabande. It's served me well, but it also stuck two "bonus" tracks from RUPERT HOLMES in the running order. At the same time, Varese also put out a second Rupert CD - a compilation called the EPOCH COLLECTION, and it just now occurs to me that that's a play on "Epic". It had tracks from the three Epic albums.

    Next up, I picked up an MCA disc of PARTNERS IN CRIME (with an errant extra "R" on the spine!). I didn't care for the muddy mastering on this one. My old vinyl sounded brighter and better to me.

    Lastly, I grabbed a comp put out by Hip-O in 2000 called GREATEST HITS with a mix of songs from Rupert's career.

    I remember seeing a great looking full-career box set put out a number of year ago, but I failed to pull the trigger and missed out. I wasn't prepared to pay the cost for that one.

    Between all of the discs and comps I owned, I set out to reconstruct the first three albums in their LP order. WIDESCREEN was easy, as was RUPERT HOLMES as all of the album's tracks were contained on those first two Varese discs.

    SINGLES was a little harder. Seven of the ten tracks were on the EPOCH COLLECTION. I had to needle-drop the other three from vinyl ("You Made Me Real", "For Beginners Only", and "Singles").

    Meanwhile, this new set arrived in just one day. So from the time of discovery to playing on my system was less than 24 hours. Pretty good considering it's an import.

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  2. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I liked one of his earlier tracks "Studio Musician" which the radio station I work at has the album its featured on ( I believe its on the self titled l.p. i may be wrong) and I first heard it covered by Barry manilow on his 1977 live album and I liked the song but I'm glad to see his pre hit albums coming back I have his partners in crime album and I love it as well so I'm naturally curious about his earlier music
  3. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    "Studio Musician" is very typical of Rupert's composing style. His songs are indeed like little movies. My early favorite is "Terminal", a song about a man who becomes smitten with a lady he sees on his morning commute on a bus. Another is "Second Saxophone" where we hear the exploits of a guy who's forever just second saxophone, never getting the lead.

    And then there's his update of a Beatles song, of all things, with "I Don't Want To Hold Your Hand". It's got elements of the old Beatles song with an update of attitudes.

    Then there's the poignant "Letters That Cross In The Mail" where our hero tries and fails at a long-distance relationship across the pond.

    I'm normally a person that pays little attention to lyrics, but Rupert Holmes' stuff makes me pay attention.
    Bobberman likes this.
  4. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I agree Even with his hits his lyrics were so interesting to me and so topical I couldn't help but be intrigued
  5. Funnily enough I played a track from "Widescreen" on the radio the other day. Always loved Rupert's songs and wonderful lyrics. An immensely talented guy!
    Bobberman likes this.
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    I've begun the task of needle-dropping a few more Rupert Holmes LPs that I have around here. The first up was 1978's PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Side One is straight-ahead pop, leaning towards disco. I can envision his then-new record company demanding some pop hits, so some of the tracks had that dance-disco feel. Side Two begins to mellow out towards the older Rupert Holmes style, with an almost trilogy of songs about his hometown. One of the tracks, "The Long Way Home" got airplay on the radio station I worked for.
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  7. toeknee4bz

    toeknee4bz Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid I'm one of those people who are only familiar with the PARTNERS IN CRIME lp. I had ADVENTURE briefly, but it didn't grab me and I let it go. And since I wasn't aware of any other albums, that was pretty much the end of it.
    That being said, I am a huge fan of what I know... and that is the PARTNERS IN CRIME album. Start to finish, every song is listenable.
    And now, thanks to Harry, I have a few others to check out on you tube. :winkgrin:
    Bobberman likes this.
  8. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    WIDESCREEN, the first album, remains one of my Desert Island discs for sure, and I have much to love in all of his other albums. I recently completed my needledrop project of getting all of his albums digitized. The first three on Epic are nicely done on the new set, so I only needed to concentrate on the remaining four.

    PARTNERS IN CRIME was a CD that I picked up years ago. Unfortunately, the mastering on that MCA disc sounds like crap, so I had to revert to my LP and digitize that. Thankfully, all of my Rupert Holmes vinyl is in really nice shape and PARTNERS was no exception. That one digitized well and easily bests that old MCA CD.

    Looking through Discogs and eBay, I find that I missed out on some import CDs of the other three albums, ADVENTURE, PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, and FULL CIRCLE. But again, no matter, my vinyl will serve - and did serve.

    The needledrops of all of the albums turned out really well. And this past week, I managed to make a CD-r for the car out of my WMA files. All seven albums on one disc. It's been playing all week on my generally short trips, and I'm currently into the SINGLES album. I'm finding that I like that one even more than I thought.
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  9. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Congratulations Harry on Your Acquisition I'm sure you will enjoy these treasures for years to come I never owned the CD version of Partners in crime but had it on vinyl and needledropped it to CD which turned out great so since the CD version isn't so great it looks like I should just let it be
  10. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    Rupert did a song from the "No Small Affair" movie soundtrack in late 1984 which starred Jon Cryer & Demi Moore but I can't think of the song title. His last Adult Contemporary song was indeed called "The End" back in 1982. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
  11. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    Matt, according to the track listing on this website,

    No Small Affair - Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic

    Rupert Holmes performed three songs on the soundtrack album: "Itchin' For A Fight", "Hot Headed", and "No Small Affair".
  12. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    OK, thank you!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI
  13. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Poking around on Discogs, I found a compilation of Rupert Holmes material that was released twice, once in 1998, and again in 2001, both times in the Netherlands. It was called both ESCAPE: THE BEST OF RUPERT HOLMES and PINA COLADA. The one I got is the latter one. The re-title probably came about because no-one calls his biggest hit "Escape", but always "The Piña Colada Song".

    Anyway, this compilation is from Universal and comprises songs from both ADVENTURE and PARTNERS IN CRIME. There are seven of ten tracks from ADVENTURE, and nine of ten tracks from PARTNERS, plus a single version of "Escape" in addition to the album version.


    As I mentioned before, the mastering on the MCA PARTNERS IN CRIME is woefully lacking in sound quality. Bass is terribly rolled off leaving a thin sound. The mastering on this CD is much, much better.
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  14. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I notice my some of my favorites from Partners in Crime is on here is still have my neddledrop CD of the vinyl version and because of your critique on the poor quality of the CD I chose to pass on getting it on CD but i might consider getting this comp
  15. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Amen to this. I can't believe how awful that MCA CD was. It was no-noised to death. As a result of the no-noise, sometimes 10-15 seconds were shaved off of each fade-out. "In You I Trust" was the most egregious in that regard. I found an original Infinity Records LP and the difference was amazing. The tunes opened right up and the incredible guitar solo in "In You In Trust" went on a bit longer.

  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Yep, the original Infinity LP bests them all. Even this comp CD, while way better than the MCA disc, still shortens "In You I Trust's" long, long fade.
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  17. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I'd hate to have been Rupert. Dean Bailin never ran of things to say so it had to be difficult to figure out when to fade the tune out. My assumption is that the solo must have been done during tracking given how long it went.

  18. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I used to find 'Escape, (The Pina Colada Song)' annoying at the time it was a big hit, probably because it was playing every time you switched the radio on or turned the dial to another station.

    Interestingly, another song with almost exactly the same story-line was a huge hit at roughly the same time - 'Babooshka', by Kate Bush. That, I think, was a bigger hit than 'Escape, (The Pina Colada Song)', peaking at Number 2 here. Kate Bush tackled the theme from a different angle. I found her take on the subject more interesting and captivating than Rupert Holmes'. I also found the arrangement and vocal performance more atmospheric and the melody more interesting on Kate Bush's song. I had 'Babooshka' and the album 'Never Forever' in my collection but not 'Escape'. 'Babooshka' also had a very visually striking video that was played on TV a lot.

    Maybe 'Escape' is a song that stands the test of time, though, because now that it's not on the radio every second, I don't mind it at all and can listen to it quite happily and enjoy it.

    The song by Rupert Holmes that I really liked at the time it was released was 'Morning Man'. I had that as a single and thought it was funky and bright. I played it a lot at one point.

    I also liked 'Answering Machine'. I thought this song was quite clever. At the time, it was a topical song about cutting-edge technology. Now, younger people wouldn't have ever used an answering machine, so it's an example of a song that became dated by its topic as technology changed. I still like it, though.

    I bought a compilation of Rupert Holmes songs while I was in Japan a couple of years ago and have listened to it recently. I have also searched for 'Partners in Crime' only recently on so would be interested in the new release mentioned here. Thanks for the info.

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