I WAS busy cleaning my room last weekend when I heard one of my all-time favorite OPM songs popularized by Kuh Ledesma playing on my neighbor’s radio. As if on cue, I found myself singing “One More Try” on top of my voice and in an instant, all the wonderful memories came rushing in. That very moment, I was transported into the not-so-distant past when the hopelessly romantic version of myself would cry over love songs, novels, movies, and yes, even television commercials.
After some more belting in true diva fashion, I decided to post the last three lines of that iconic song on my FB account. That post prompted many of my friends to ask whether I was broken-hearted or trying desperately to make things work for a relationship that was doomed to fail even from the start.
Personally, I think that is one magical power of music, or love songs for that matter, in our lives. There are songs that make us fall in love over and over again, songs that uplift and inspire us, songs that move us to tears and songs that make us reflect on our lives and the society that we live in.
When my brother Noel and I were in our elementary years, we would sometimes spend our Saturdays at our Tatang Gorio and Dang Piri’s house which was a few meters away from ours. Our Ate Grace would then play vinyl records on the turntable as we helped her clean the house. That was my introduction to the songs from the “long playing albums” of Paul Anka, Andy Williams, Matt Monro, the Platters, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Karen Carpenter, and Barbra Streisand.
To this day, I still find myself humming these songs while I do my weekend household chores, or singing a few songs during the videoke sessions with my friends, who will always be quick to pass the microphone to me if a song from the 60s or the 70s would be played on the monitor.
From the late 70s to the 80s, my love for the movies was heightened further by my love for the songs from their original sound track. Whether it was “Can You Read my Mind” from Superman, “Looking Through the Eyes of Love” from Ice Castles, “The Last Time I Felt like This” from Same Time Next Year or “My Fair Share” from One-on-One, the list went on as I continued adding every song in my playlist. Remember that this was the pre-USB, pre-Google Drive period; the only way to for me to store them was in my heart.
Speaking of big-budgeted, action-packed disaster movies, long before “How do I Live” from Con Air, “There You’ll Be” from Pearl Harbor and “My Heart will Go On” from Titanic got me hooked, I was already in love with Maureen McGovern’s “Morning After” and “We May Never Love Like This Again” which are from the 70s hit movies Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno, respectively.
The next golden age in Philippine music was in the 80s when the era ushered in a list of young songwriters who came up with OPM hits, one after another. Filipinos found themselves falling in love with these OPMs. It did not matter whether they written in English or Filipino; they spoke of their own experiences and dealt with the pains, the joys and the angst of the youth. Whether we were dancing the Bagets dance moves to Gary Valenciano’s “Growing Up” or the upbeat cha-cha steps to Martin Nieverra’s “Please Don’t Throw my Love Away” or whether we were contemplating to give romance a try with Kuh Ledesma’s “Till I Met You” or give love a second chance with Sharon Cueta’s “To Love Again,” there was simply a beautiful OPM song for whatever the Pinoy music lovers were feeling at that particular moment in their lives.
For long-time friends, there was “A Friend” by Keno; for those who were questioning if there was anything beyond friendship, the perfect song would always be Odette Quesada’s “Friend of Mine.” For those who were wondering what happened to their once beautiful story, Joey Albert’s “Tell Me” will send anyone to tears and for those who will always remain in love with their one true great love despite the many hurt feelings, there’s Baron Barber’s “I Will Always Stay this Way In Love With You.”
The list of songs I have written in this piece is just a tip of a giant iceberg. Over the years we have been gifted with many beautiful love songs that have become our torch songs, or even the theme songs of our own love stories. With the love bug hitting us this month, let us always remember that we don’t need a single day to feel romantic, to be in love or to stay in love. Life is short, may we make every single moment a chance to say “I Love You” to the people we love, and to the people who need our love. As for me, I believe that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” And I thank you!