Not another obit

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

The words “Oh no! Not again, not again, not another obit,” raced across my mind while checking out The Philippine STAR online in the morning of Jan. 29. James Ingram, the popular R&B singer who had performed several times in the Philippines, had died. He was only 66 years old and had been ill with brain cancer.

That was only one day after we got the news that Filipino rock icon Pepe Smith died of a heart attack. And only two days after, the great composer and arranger Michel Legrand from Paris, France passed away. And then the Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated Ingram had to leave at a time so close to Valentine’s Day.

Coincidentally, Ingram duetted with Patti Austin for one of Legrand’s biggest hits, the Academy Award nominated, How Do You Keep The Music Playing, from the movie Best Friends. This oldie is one of those songs that Pinoys never seem to tire of and it remerges every year like a new exciting single during the Valentine season. 

Just like Christmas carols during Christmastime, Pinoys have this set of songs that is brought out year after year during the months of January and February. So just as Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas In Our Hearts is the harbinger of the Yuletide season, we all know that Valentine’s Day cannot be far behind once we hear Ingram’s Just Once played on the radio.

Ingram of the deep soulful tones was one of those artists with several titles in the mushy, but irresistibly romantic line-up. Check out this list of his hits: One Hundred Ways, I Don’t Have The Heart, There’s No Easy Way To Break Somebody’s Heart, Baby Come To Me, also with Patti, Somewhere Out There with Linda Ronstadt, The Day I Fall In Love with Dolly Parton and What About Me with Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes.

 Some of the others that are also perennially present are Barry Manilow, Even Now, Somewhere Down The Road, Weekend In New England; David Pomeranz, King And Queen Of Hearts, Got To Believe In Magic, Born For You; Billy Joel, Honesty, Just The Way You Are; Stephen Bishop, It Might Be You, On and On; Peabo Bryson, Tonight I Celebrate My Love with Roberta Flack, If Ever You’re In My Arms Again; Rick Price, Heaven Knows; Michael Johnson, I’ll Always Love You; Kenny Rodgers, She Believes In Me; Jeffrey Osborne, On The Wings Of Love; and Kenny Loggins, Forever.

Of course, the king of all these, although he has only one stake in the annual race, is no other but the Canadian singer and songwriter Dan Hill with his big perennial, Sometimes When We Touch. I admit to instances when I have thought, not again, at the prospect of listening to Sometimes When We Touch for the umpteenth time. 

But what can one do. The song is almost 50 years old but its message still feels as fresh and real to listeners as it did when it was first released in 1977. People just love Sometimes When We Touch and I say that Pinoys do so more than others. And so with only a week until Valentine’s Day, it is Sometimes When We Touch Time once again.

And fans of the song, particularly those who consider it their theme because it was playing in the background when they met or when they fell in love, are in for a treat this year. They have the chance to watch Hill himself perform Sometimes When We Touch live at the Newport Performing Arts Theater of Resorts World Manila tonight.

The show is the Love Rocks series hosted by J. Michaels and with Hill as the star of this edition. Aside from Sometimes When We Touch, fans can also count on him to perform his other songs like Can’t We Try, Never Thought That I Could Love, Why Do We Always Hurt The Ones We Love, I Fall Over Again and In Your Eyes, a hit for George Benson for which Hill wrote the lyrics.

 Also set to perform is the smooth balladeer Jonathan Potenciano. Many doubtless know him as the Tawag Ng Tanghalan champion who made good abroad. He is making one of his rare appearances out here in Love Rocks and it might be nice for his fellow Pinoys to find out why Potenciano made it big in Hawaii and Las Vegas. Sure showstoppers are his version of If We Only Have Love, You’re Closer To Me and Love Won’t Let Me Wait.





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