(Read all about Rupert Holmes after the video)
Rupert Holmes (born David Goldstein on February 24, 1947) is a British-American composer, singer-songwriter, musician, dramatist and author. He is widely known for the hit singles "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" (1979) and "Him" (1980). He is also known for his musicals Drood, which earned him two Tony Awards, and Curtains, and for his television series Remember WENN.
Life and career
Holmes was born David Goldstein in Northwich, Cheshire, England. His father, Leonard Eliot Goldstein, was a United States Army warrant officer and bandleader. His mother, Gwendolen Mary (nee Pynn), was English, and both were musical. Holmes has dual British and American citizenship. The family moved when Holmes was six years old to the northern New York City suburb of Nanuet, New York, where Holmes grew up and attended nearby Nyack High School and then the Manhattan School of Music (majoring in clarinet). Holmes' brother, Richard, is an opera singer based in New York City and is the principal lyric baritone of the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, sings roles with regional opera companies, such as Glimmerglass Opera, Lake George, and Virginia Opera, among others, and has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera.
In 1969, Holmes married childhood friend Elizabeth "Liza" Wood Dreifuss, an attorney. Holmes' daughter Wendy died suddenly in 1986, at the age of ten, of an undiagnosed brain tumor. He has two sons, Nick and Timothy, the latter of whom has autism.
Songwriter and recording artist
In his 20s, Holmes was a session musician (producing sessions, writing and arranging songs, singing and playing a few instruments). In 1969 Holmes and Ron Dante (the Cuff Links, the Archies) recorded "Jennifer Tomkins" for release on their second album, The Cuff Links. During the recording of that album, Dante was prohibited by the studio that produced the Archies from any involvement in new recording ventures and was forced to drop out of The Cuff Links. Holmes finished the project and released "Jennifer Tomkins" separately under a different studio name, The Street People. The song was on the Billboard Hot 100 for 15 weeks, beginning January 3, 1970, reaching a peak of 36. A follow-up single called "Thank You Girl" reached 96 on the Billboard pop charts in April 1970.
Holmes played the piano for both the Cuff Links and the Buoys, with whom he had his first international hit, "Timothy", which was on the Hot 100 for 17 weeks beginning on January 2, 1971, a No. 17 song about cannibalism. He also wrote "Give Up Your Guns", "The Prince of Thieves", "Blood Knot", and "Tomorrow" for the band. "Timothy" charted in the U.S. at number 17 and "Give Up Your Guns" at number 84. Holmes also wrote jingles and pop tunes (including for Gene Pitney, the Platters, the Drifters, Wayne Newton, Dolly Parton, Barry Manilow and television's the Partridge Family), as well as the score to the 1970 revenge western, Five Savage Men (also known as The Animals), which starred Keenan Wynn.
As a recording artist, Holmes broke through with his first album, 1974's Widescreen on Epic Records, which introduced him as a presenter of highly romantic, lushly orchestrated "story songs" that told a witty narrative punctuated by clever rhymes and a hint of comedy. Barbra Streisand discovered this album and asked to record songs from it, launching Holmes on a successful career. She then used some of his songs in the movie A Star Is Born. Holmes also arranged, conducted, and wrote songs on her 1975 album Lazy Afternoon as well as five other Streisand albums. Holmes' second, self-titled album led Rolling Stone to compare him with Bob Dylan in the sense of being an artist of unprecedented originality that commanded attention.
Holmes' production skills were also in demand during this period, and he took on this role for Lynsey De Paul on her album Tigers and Fireflies, which spawned the radio hit "Hollywood Romance". The album also featured a song, the bluesy "'Twas", co-written by the two. He additionally produced Sparks' 1976 LP, Big Beat, though the album was not a success. In 1975, together with Jeffrey Lesser, Holmes produced the UK band Sailor's album Trouble (CBS Epic).
"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" was included on Holmes' fifth album, Partners in Crime, and was the final Hot 100 #1 of 1979. Another popular song on that album was "Him", which peaked at number 6 on the Hot 100. He had another top-40 hit with "Answering Machine". In 1986, Holmes's composition "You Got It All" (sometimes called "You Got It All Over Him") was a top 3 hit single for The Jets and was later recorded by pop superstar Britney Spears and featured in her internationally released version of Oops!... I Did It Again (2000). He also produced two songs for singer Judy Collins that appeared on her album Sanity and Grace. His song "The People That You Never Get to Love" was featured on four albums by Susannah McCorkle The People That You Never Get to Love (1981), From Bessie to Brazil (1993), Most Requested Songs (2001), and Ballad Essentials (2002). Frank Sinatra, Jr. also recorded the tune on his That Face! album (2006).
In the 1980s and 1990s, Holmes also played in cabarets and comedy clubs, mostly in New York City, telling often autobiographical anecdotes illustrated with his songs.