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Rupert Holmes

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

  1. Harry

    Harry Charter 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.

    Rudy and Bobberman like this.
  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 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 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.
    Rudy and Bobberman like this.

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