“Sige lang, itaas ang kilay.”

“Bongga Ka Day” by Hotdog | On Sunday, Hotdog co-founder Rene Garcia passed away after suffering a heart attack. Cue trigger to revisit the band’s entire oeuvre, one that helped shape not just the Manila Sound movement of the 1970s, but also pretty much every other local music movement in succeeding years. I mean, notice the parallel between the band’s music and, say, the funk-inspired songs coming out from today’s indie acts? That’s one argument for longevity. The many tributes coming in from musicians of different stripes is another. And then there’s how we still refer to their songs many decades later, and not just for lols like we tend to do with what we call the “corny” stuff. While the band, which Rene co-founded with his brother Dennis and their first vocalist Ella del Rosario, created songs that seemed to speak of the zeitgeist of the time – the 70s, with its wide possibilities, free-wheeling tendencies and the underlying current of dread – it managed not to bottle things into nostalgic frames, but rather make them universal, so much so that we still talk about Annie Batungbakal, or idealize Manila the way they did. (And with “Beh Buti Nga”, they proved to be, as Myrene Academia put it, a little more punk rock, too.) It’s a shame we tend to look at these classic acts through the frame of times past, in dedicated token slots, with what ultimately are embarrassing tributes on television. [NB]

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“Mga problema niya’y kanyang nalilimutan ‘pag siya’y yumuyugyog.”

Great Philippine Song Hits“Annie Batungbakal” by Hotdog | “Ang cliché, [pero] si Annie mismo naging ‘icon’ na.” That was Claud’s explanation for picking this song into the list, and I disagree; it’s no cliché. Iconic, perhaps. I know I’ve been throwing that term around, but it is. This song, along most of Hotdog’s other hits, pretty much defined Manila’s disco culture in the 70s – and also defined what would be called the Manila Sound of the time, centered towards every stage of a dance floor’s life. (I would’ve put in “Bongga Ka ‘Day” solely for the names it drops – a veritable pop history, if any.) Again, the songs of Dennis and Rene Garcia and gang perfectly captured the Filipino mindset of the time, and proves how universal it is – the whole love shebang, going out, having fun… not much has changed, yes? Well, yes. And no. [NB]