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Rupert Holmes
Holmes in 1979
Holmes in 1979
Background information
Birth nameDavid Goldstein
Born (1947-02-24) February 24, 1947 (age 77)
Northwich, Cheshire, England
OriginNanuet, New York, U.S.
  • Composer
  • singer-songwriter
  • playwright
  • author
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • saxophone
Years active1969–present
Liza Dreifuss
(m. 1969)

Rupert Holmes (born David Goldstein; February 24, 1947) is a British-American composer, singer-songwriter, 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 The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which earned him two Tony Awards, and Curtains, his AMC television series Remember WENN, and his novel Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    1 379 724
    4 717
    252 429
    3 246 923
    362 718
  • Rupert Holmes - Escape (The Pina Colada Song) • TopPop
  • Studio Musician
  • RUPERT HOLMES - Escape (The Pina Colada Song) (1980)
  • RUPERT HOLMES ❖ him 【HD】
  • Him


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 (née Pynn),[1] 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's brother, Richard, is the principal lyric baritone of the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, sings roles with regional opera companies, such as Glimmerglass, Lake George and Virginia Opera, and has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera.[2]

In 1969, Holmes married childhood friend Elizabeth "Liza" Wood Dreifuss, an attorney. Their daughter Wendy died suddenly in 1986, at the age of ten, of an undiagnosed brain tumor.[3] They have two sons: Nick, a filmmaker, and Timothy, who is autistic. In 2009, they moved from Scarsdale, New York, where they had lived since Wendy's death, to Cold Spring, New York.[4]

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 of the Cuff Links (and 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, Street People (not related to the mid-1970s band of the same name).[5] The song was on the Billboard Hot 100 for 15 weeks, beginning January 3, 1970, reaching a peak of number 36. In Canada the song reached number 21.[6] A follow-up single called "Thank You Girl" reached number 96 on the Billboard pop charts in April 1970.

Holmes played the piano for both the Cuff Links and the Buoys,[7] with whom he had his first international hit, "Timothy", which was on the Hot 100 for 17 weeks beginning on January 2, 1971, a number 17 song about human cannibalism that intentionally drew controversy.[8] He also wrote "Give Up Your Guns" (which peaked at number 84), "The Prince of Thieves", "Blood Knot", and "Tomorrow" for the band. 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),[7][9] as well as the score of the 1970 revenge western Five Savage Men (also known as The Animals), which starred Keenan Wynn.[10]

As a recording artist, Holmes broke through with his first album, 1974's Widescreen on Epic Records,[7] 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.[11] Holmes's second, self-titled album led Rolling Stone to compare him with Bob Dylan as an artist of unprecedented originality who commanded attention.[12]

Holmes's production skills were also in demand during this period, and he took on this role for Lynsey de Paul's album Tigers and Fireflies, which spawned the radio hit "Hollywood Romance". The album also featured the bluesy song "'Twas", co-written by Holmes and de Paul. 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).[13][14]

"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" was on Holmes's fifth album, Partners in Crime, and was the final Hot 100 number 1 of 1979. Another popular song on that album was "Him", which peaked at number 6 on the Hot 100. Holmes 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; it was later recorded by Britney Spears and featured in her internationally released version of Oops!... I Did It Again (2000). 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 2006 album That Face!

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.[15] In 2021, Holmes received an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music.[16]


Holmes made his professional debut as a playwright with the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 1985. Joseph Papp and his wife encouraged Holmes to write a musical after they attended one of his cabarets in 1983. The result, loosely based on Charles Dickens's unfinished novel of the same name, and inspired by Holmes's memories of English pantomime shows he attended as a child, was a hit in New York's Central Park and on Broadway. Because Dickens left the novel unfinished at his death, Holmes employed the unusual device of providing alternate endings for each character suspected of the murder, and letting the audience vote on a different murderer each night. The show earned Holmes the Tony Award for both book and score, as well as the Drama Desk Awards for lyrics, music, the book and orchestrations, among various other honors. The musical has been given London and Broadway revivals, among others. Drood's success led Holmes to write other plays (both musical and non-) in later years, though he has said that he avoided musical theater for some time after his daughter's death.

Holmes also wrote the Tony Award-nominated ("Best Play 2003") Say Goodnight, Gracie, based on the relationship between George Burns and Gracie Allen. The play, which starred Frank Gorshin, was that Broadway season's longest-running play and the third-longest-running solo-performance show in Broadway history.[17] He wrote the comedy-thriller Accomplice in 1990, the second of Holmes's plays to receive an Edgar Award (after Drood). Holmes has written a number of other shows, including Solitary Confinement, which played on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre in 1992[18] and set a new Kennedy Center box office record before its Broadway run; Thumbs, the most successful play in the history of the Helen Hayes Theatre Company; and the musical Marty (2002), starring John C. Reilly.[19] He wrote the book to Swango: The Theatrical Dance Experience, a swing-tango dance piece that premiered Off-Broadway in 2002 inspired by Romeo and Juliet.[20] It has had several revivals.[21][22] Holmes joined the creative team of the musical Curtains after the deaths of both Peter Stone (the original book-writer) and Fred Ebb (the lyricist). Holmes rewrote Stone's original book and contributed additional lyrics to the Kander and Ebb songs. Curtains played at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway, with David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk in the lead roles. Holmes and Peter Stone (posthumously) won the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical for Curtains.

Holmes wrote the book of the musical The First Wives' Club, adapted from the film of the same name. The musical premiered at The Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California in 2009.[23] Its score is by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland.[24][25] The production received generally unenthusiastic reviews but sold well.[26] Linda Bloodworth-Thomason wrote a new book, and the reworked show opened in Chicago in 2015.[27] Holmes next wrote the book for a jukebox musical, Robin and the 7 Hoods, inspired by the 1964 film of the same name starring Frank Sinatra, with a new story line that Holmes set in 1962. Songs are by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, including "My Kind of Town". A production ran in 2010, also at the Old Globe. Casey Nicholaw directed and choreographed. The story is about a likable gangster hoping to get out of the crime business. A do-gooder TV reporter likens him to a modern-day Robin Hood.[28][29]

Holmes adapted the John Grisham novel and film A Time to Kill for the stage. The play premiered at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., in 2011.[30] The courtroom drama, set against a background of evolving 1980s Southern racial politics, was called "funny, shocking, witty, and sly".[31] He wrote the book and lyrics for The Nutty Professor, a musical based on the 1963 film of the same name. Marvin Hamlisch wrote the score. The musical was directed by Jerry Lewis and premiered in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2012.[32][33] With Hamlisch, he also wrote songs for the 2013 Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra.[22] He next wrote the book of Secondhand Lions: A New Musical, which premiered in Seattle, Washington, in 2013.[22] A Time to Kill was produced on Broadway, but lasted only four weeks plus previews, closing on November 17, 2013.[34] In 2016, The Sweet Potato Queens, with music by Melissa Manchester, lyrics by Sharon Vaughn and a book by Holmes, premiered at TUTS Underground.[35]

Television writer and novelist

In 1996, Holmes created the television series Remember WENN for American Movie Classics, writing the theme song and writing or co-writing all but one of the 56 episodes of that series. In 2003, he published his first novel, Where the Truth Lies (later adapted into a film of the same name by Atom Egoyan), followed in 2005 by Swing, a multimedia release combining a novel with a music CD providing clues to the mystery. His next novel, Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide (2023);[36] peaked at number six on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction on March 12, 2023.[37]



This discography does not include others' collections or albums released without Holmes's participation.

  • Released: 1974
  • Label: Varese Vintage
  • Format: LP
Rupert Holmes
  • Released: 1975
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
Pursuit of Happiness
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Private Stock/MCA
  • Format: LP
Partners in Crime
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: Infinity/MCA
  • Format: LP, cassette
  • Released: 1980
  • Label: MCA
  • Format: LP, cassette
Full Circle
  • Released: 1981
  • Label: Elektra
  • Format: LP, cassette
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: Victor
  • Format: CD
Epoch Collection
  • Released: September 27, 1994, *Label: Varèse Sarabande
  • Format: CD
Widescreen (reissue)
  • Released: February 28, 1995
  • Label: Varèse Sarabande
  • Format: CD
The Best of Rupert Holmes
  • Released: 1998
  • Label: Half Moon/Universal
  • Format: CD, digital
Rupert Holmes / Greatest Hits
  • Released: July 25, 2000
  • Label: Hip-O /Universal
  • Format: CD, digital
Widescreen – The Collector's Edition
  • Released: August 7, 2001
  • Label: Fynsworth Alley
  • Format: CD
  • Note: eleven cuts not previously released
Best 1200
  • Released: June 25, 2005
  • Label: Hip-O Select/Universal
  • Format: CD
Cast of Characters – The Rupert Holmes Songbook
  • Released: July 1, 2005
  • Label: Hip-O Select/Universal
  • Format: CD
  • Note: Box set with previously unreleased track
The Mystery of Edwin Drood – original Broadway cast recording
  • Released: December 10, 2012
  • Label: Polygram
  • Format: CD, digital

Holmes also wrote and co-produced, and was a keyboardist on, the songs on the disco album Shobizz, released in 1979 by Capitol Records. He also featured as a vocalist on the 1983 album Lake Freeze - The Raccoons Songtrack by the Raccoons.


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US Hot 100 US AC AUS[38] CAN NED NZ UK[39]
1974 "Talk" Widescreen
"Our National Pastime"
1975 "I Don't Want to Hold Your Hand" Rupert Holmes
"Deco Lady"
1976 "Weekend Lover" Singles
"Who, What, When, Where, Why"
1978 "Bedside Companions" Pursuit of Happiness
"Let's Get Crazy Tonight" 72 59
1979 "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" 1 8 3 1 13 4 23 Partners in Crime
1980 "Him" 6 4 42 14 18 8 31
"Answering Machine" 32 12 85
"Morning Man" 68 21 94 Adventure
1981 "Blackjack" 103
"I Don't Need You" 56 21
"Loved by the One You Love" 103 35 Full Circle
1982 "The End" 31
1983 "At Our House" (released as the B-side to "Lake Freeze" by Rita Coolidge) Lake Freeze: The Raccoons Songtrack
"–" denotes releases that did not chart

Other works



  1. ^ "Rupert Holmes Biography (1947–)",, accessed June 7, 2013
  2. ^ "Richard Holmes: Baritone",; and Heath, Mary Jo. " Backstage Spotlight: Richard Holmes",, November 1, 2016
  3. ^ "You Got It All by The Jets". Songfacts. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Yarnell, Laurie. "The Man Who Wrote 'The Piña Colada Song' Lives Locally in Cold Spring", Hudson Valley, July 12, 2019
  5. ^ Jennifer Tomkins", The Street People,
  6. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. February 21, 1970.
  7. ^ a b c Summers, Kim. Rupert Holmes: Biography. AllMusic, accessed April 6, 2011
  8. ^ Timothy at Songfacts, accessed January 12, 2009
  9. ^ Minnick, Susan L. Rupert Homes biography at the IMDB website
  10. ^ Five Savage Men,, accessed May 16, 2015
  11. ^ Feature on Curtains at the Total Theatre website
  12. ^ "Rupert Holmes". Rolling Stone. No. 191. July 17, 1975. p. 60.
  13. ^ McCarraher, James. A Glass of Champagne, The Official Sailor Story, Sarum Press (2004)
  14. ^ Trouble, Sailor Club, accessed December 29, 2012
  15. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Review/Cabaret; Rupert Holmes Onstage", The New York Times, August 3, 1990, p. 17
  16. ^ "Manhattan School of Music Ninety-Fourth and Ninety-Fifth Commencement Ceremony". Issuu. May 20, 2021. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  17. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Joel Rooks Will Say Goodnight Gracie at Off-Broadway's St. Luke's",, September 14, 2011
  18. ^ Gussow, Mel. "The Manipulations of a Villain Trapped In His Own Devices", The New York Times, November 9, 1992
  19. ^ Review of the Boston production of Marty, Playbill (2003)
  20. ^ "Swinging Summer", The Village Voice, September 3, 2002
  21. ^ "In Swango, This Time Opposites Don't Attract", The New York Times, June 15, 2003; and Parks, Steve. "In lively competition, swing vs. tango rocks", Newsday, May 13, 2005
  22. ^ a b c "SWANGO to Play Schimmel Center, 10/15–17",, September 10, 2015
  23. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Musical First Wives Club Will Now Convene July 17 Toward July 31 Opening"., June 1, 2009
  24. ^ Hebert, James. "Globe to be first to stage musical First Wives Club". The San Diego Union-Tribune, September 5, 2008
  25. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Ziemba, Lenox and Walsh to Star in Old Globe's First Wives Club"., May 15, 2009; and "Tell Us, Miss Jones: Sheryl Lee Ralph Will Be Part of First Wives Club" Archived June 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., June 16, 2009
  26. ^ "Critics have issues with First Wives". Variety, August 3, 2009
  27. ^ Jones, Chris. "Not so sweet revenge in pre-Broadway First Wives Club", Chicago Tribune, March 12, 2015
  28. ^ Stevens, Rob. '"Review: Robin and the 7 Hoods". TheaterMania, August 2, 2010
  29. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "'s Brief Encounter with Rupert Holmes"., August 16, 2010
  30. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "A Time to Kill, with Sebastian Arcelus, Dion Graham, Erin Davie, Begins World Premiere in DC" Archived May 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., May 6, 2011
  31. ^ Ponick, Terry. "A Time to Kill", DCTheatreScene, May 26, 2011
  32. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Producers of Nutty Professor Hope to Earn Broadway Tenure for New Marvin Hamlisch-Rupert Holmes Show" Archived August 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, August 17, 2012, accessed August 19, 2013
  33. ^ Ng, David (August 2, 2012). "Jerry Lewis' 'Nutty Professor' musical opens in Nashville". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  34. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Grisham's Tale Retold Onstage", The New York Times, October 20, 2013, updated November 17, 2013, accessed April 22, 2017
  35. ^ Cullum, Brett. "BWW Review: The Sweet Potato Queens at TUTS Underground",, March 21, 2016
  36. ^ Sanderson, Mark (February 18, 2023). "The McMasters Guide to Homicide: Vol 1 by Rupert Holmes review". The Sunday Times. London, England.
  37. ^ "Hardcover Fiction Books". The New York Times. March 12, 2023. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  38. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 141. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  39. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 258. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  40. ^ "British    certifications – Rupert Holmes". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 3, 2022. Type Rupert Holmes in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.


External links

This page was last edited on 12 July 2024, at 20:16
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