Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Answering Machine" by Rupert Holmes

Song#:  0156
Date:  05/03/1980
Debut:  82
Peak:  32
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After double Top 10 success with "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" and "Him," Holmes eked out one more Top 40 song from his album "Partners in Crime." He wouldn't return to the Top 40 again, but he would go on to have other successes on Broadway and in TV.

ReduxReview:  If you write a song where an integral part of is deals with current technology, you better make it really good because that technology will soon evolve or disappear. At the time it may seem really clever, but it's 50/50 many years later whether it remains a clever curiosity or a dated misfire. Because Holmes is a solid songwriter, I would still call this a clever reminder of the time period. Just in the same way he used the personal ads in "Escape," he applies a story to answering machine tag. It's not an awesome song, but I think it still works. However, I doubt kids these days would even get that an answering machine would cut you off with a beep if you went too long - or that a machine can actually fill up. Oh, technology...

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Holmes' debut album, "Widescreen" (1974) gained a major fan - Barbra Streisand. She wanted to record songs from the album and Holmes ended up co-produced her 1975 "Lazy Afternoon" album, which featured four Holmes written or co-written songs. She also recorded two of his songs for "The Star Is Born" soundtrack (1976).



  1. What I remember most about this song was that answering machines were still new to most people when the single was released, so it was a parady of what appeared to be a fad at the time.

  2. Totally dated but my favorite song from Holmes here. It's so well written and unlike any song at that time. I can listen to this one all day.

    1. It's a fun tune and features some of that clever playfulness of Holmes' writing. There was a recent episode of Professor of Rock on YouTube that has a really good interview with Holmes about the Pina Colada song. Look it up if you get a chance.

  3. Chart Run: 82 - 72 - 59 - 49 - 45 - 41 - 35 - 33 - 32 - 74 - 98