Rupert Holmes

Rupert Holmes

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Rupert Holmes

Img_capt =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1947|2|24
Origin = Northwich, Cheshire, England
Genre = Soft rock, pop, show tunes
Occupation = Singer-songwriter, musician, playwright, author
Years_active = 1974-Present
Label = Infinity Records, Geffen Records
Associated_acts = Sparks
URL = [ Official website]
Notable_instruments =

Rupert Holmes (born February 24, 1947) is an American-British composer, singer-songwriter, musician and author of plays, novels and stories. He is best known for his number one pop hit "Escape" (subtitled "The Piña Colada Song") in 1979, his Tony Award winning musical "Drood" (originally "The Mystery of Edwin Drood") and his more recent Broadway musical "Curtains".

Life and career

Holmes was born in Northwich, Cheshire, England. His father, Leonard Goldstein, was a United States Army Warrant Officer and bandleader, his mother, Gwen, was English, and both were musical. Holmes has dual American and British citizenship. The family moved, after a few years in Northwich, 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. Holmes' daughter Wendy died suddenly in 1986, at the age of ten, of an undiagnosed brain tumor. He has two sons, Nick and Timothy (who has autism).

ongwriter and recording artist

In his 20s, Holmes was a session musician (producing sessions, writing and arranging songs, singing and playing a few instruments), who wrote jingles and pop tunes (including for Gene Pitney, the Platters, the Drifters, Wayne Newton and television's The Partridge Family). As a recording artist, Holmes broke through with 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". He also arranged, conducted and wrote songs on her 1975 album, "Lazy Afternoon". Holmes' second, self-titled album led "Rolling Stone" to compare him to 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 "Holiday 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.

"Escape" was included on Holmes' fifth album, "Partners in Crime", and reached the Hot 100 No. 1 Hits of 1979. The song hit #1 late in December 1979, becoming the last song to top the pop chart in the 1970s. The song fell to #2 for the first week of January, 1980 and then rebounded to #1 the next week, making Holmes the only artist to ascend to the #1 spot with the same song in different decades. Another popular song on that album was "Him", which peaked at #6 on the Hot 100.

Holmes wrote a song for the band The Buoys called "Timothy," possibly the only top-40 song about cannibalism. Holmes was not in the band, but he played piano on the track. He also wrote "Give Up Your Guns", "The Prince of Thieves", "Blood Knot", and "Tomorrow" for the band. "Timothy" charted at #17 and "Give Up Your Guns" at #84. In 1986, Holmes's composition "You Got It All" (sometimes called "You Got It All Over Him") was a 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".Fact|date=April 2008

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.


Rupert Holmes made his professional debut as a playwright with the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", later known as "Drood", in 1985. Holmes was encouraged to write a musical by Joseph Papp and his wife after they attended one of Holmes's cabarets in 1983. The result, loosely based on the Charles Dickens unfinished novel, and inspired by Holmes's memories of English pantomime shows he attended as a child, would earn Holmes Tony Awards for both book and score, as well as Drama Desk Awards (for book, music, and lyrics), and various other honors. Holmes also orchestrated "Drood" himself, making him one of the few Broadway composers to write his own orchestrations. Because the original novel was left unfinished after Dickens's death, Holmes came up with the unusual idea of providing alternate endings for each character who is suspected of the murder, and letting the audience vote on a different murderer each night. The success of "Drood" would lead Holmes to focus more on writing plays (both musical and non-) in later years, though he has stated that he avoided musical theater for some time after the untimely death of his daughter.

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. He has also written the comedy-thriller "Accomplice" (1990), which was the second of Holmes's plays to receive an Edgar Award (following "Drood".) Holmes has written a number of other shows, including "Solitary Confinement" (2002), which 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). [ [ Review of the Boston production of "Marty"] Playbill (2003)] Holmes also joined the creative team of "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" is currently (as of 2008) playing at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway, and David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk starred in the lead roles. Holmes and Peter Stone (posthumously) won the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical for "Curtains".

Holmes is writing the book of a musical theatre version of the film "The First Wives Club", which is scheduled to play at The Old Globe in San Diego from July 15, 2009 through August 23, 2009 [ [ "The First Wives Club" site] ] prior to a Broadway engagement. The score is by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland. The director is Francesca Zambello. [Hebert,James. [ "Globe to be first to stage musical 'First Wives Club'",] "The San Diego Union-Tribune", September 5, 2008] [Jones, Kenneth. [ "First Wives Club Musical Will Premiere in San Diego in 2009; Zambello Directs",], September 5, 2008] Holmes had been engaged to write the musical in 2006. [Simonson, Robert. [ "Rupert Holmes to Pen Book for First Wives Club Musical",], May 26, 2006]

Television writer and novelist

In 1996 Holmes created the television series "Remember WENN" for American Movie Classics, writing all 56 episodes of that series. In 2003 he published his first novel, "Where the Truth Lies" (later filmed by Atom Egoyan), followed in 2005 by "Swing," a multimedia release combining a novel with a music CD providing clues to the mystery.


Does not include singles, others' collections, or albums released without Holmes's participation:
# "Widescreen". 1974 (Epic: KE 32864 or AL 32864)
# "Rupert Holmes". 1975 (Epic: KE33443)
# "Singles". 1976 (Epic: 34288)
# "Pursuit of Happiness". 1978 (Private Stock/MCA: MCA 3241)
# "Partners in Crime". 1979 (Infinity/MCA: INF 9020)
# "Adventure". 1980 (MCA: 5129)
# "Full Circle". 1981 (Electra: P-11086E)
# "Billboard Top Hits 1979". 1991 (Rhino: 70674)
# "Scenario". 1994 (Victor: VICP-5469)
# "Epoch Collection". 1994 (Varese Sarabande: VSD-5520)
# "Widescreen". 1995 (Varese Sarabande: VSD-5545)
# "The Best of Rupert Holmes". 1998 (Half Moon/Universal: HMNCD 037)
# "Rupert Holmes / Greatest Hits". 2000 (Hip-O/Universal: 314 541 557-2)
# "Widescreen - The Collector's Edition". 2001 (Fynsworth Alley: 302 062 1162) (with eleven cuts not previously released).
# "Cast of Characters - The Rupert Holmes Songbook". 2005 (Hip-O/Universal: B0004263-02)
# "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". Original Broadway Cast Recording. Polygram

Holmes also wrote and co-produced, and was a keyboardist on, the songs on the disco album "Shobizz", released in 1979 by Capitol Records.

Other works


*"Drood" (originally "The Mystery of Edwin Drood")
*"Twelfth Night"
*"The Hamburger Hamlet"
*"Solitary Confinement"
*"Say Goodnight, Gracie"
*"The Picture of Dorian Gray"

Film and television projects

*"Remember WENN"
*"Hi Honey I'm Home"
*"No Small Affair"
*"Five Savage Men"
*"A Star Is Born"
*"Art in Heaven"
*"The Christmas Raccoons" (voice)


*"Where the Truth Lies"
*"False Information"



*Gordon, Meryl. [ "Escape From Piña Coladaville",] "New York Magazine" interview (August 11, 2003), pp. 42–45, 88

External links

* [ Rupert Holmes website]
* [ Sparks - Sparks "Big Beat" Lp produced by Rupert Holmes]
* [ Filmography at IMDB website]
* [ Broadway credits at IBDB website]
* [ Review of new musical "Curtains"] .
* [ Review of a 1990 Cabaret performance by Holmes]
* [ Holmes' song "Terminal", from his 1974 album "Widescreen", at Songs about Nanuet website]

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