A Heart’s Journey with Jose Marie Chan

October 21st, 2012 · No Comments

I dug up my old Jose Mari Chan collection and I sit here listening and summoning the inspiration to write.  But a few bars is all it takes and the juices flow.  However, it is impossible to listen to Jose Mari Chan without drifting into the memory bank to recall those special moments that accompanied his music or was it the other way around.

Ahhh, Jose Mari Chan, the sensuous balladeer, the prolific songwriter, the catchy jingle maker all rolled into one and a master at stealing our hearts. 

He  eased his way into the music scene in the sixties as the host of the ABS-CBN TV show “Nine Teeners”.  He was a budding singer/songwriter who had just completed his Economics degree from the true blue school. 

He crooned to Doug Sheldon’s Night Time and then followed it with his very own single “Afterglow.”  He became an instant hit with the College girls and was much sought after for school fests at most Colleges and universities.  Ever so prim and proper, he was every mother’s ideal.   

The baby boomers were just entering their teen years.  Their hips were shaking; their hormones were raging but Jose Mari Chan’s sensual whispery, caressing voice seemed to quiet down a generation.  His songs spoke of their loves and joys, of secret desires and unrequited love. He sang about romance for hopeful hearts and bared the secret desires of dreamy wishful souls.  He seemed to follow their heart’s journey.

By the time, he released “Deep in my Heart”, high school and collegiate students were swooning and melting at his every sigh.  “Seventh Dawn” was another song that left the teens drooling and half comatose. His songs became the “must play” tunes when the lights were dimmed at any disco or party – the anthem for goodnights, the final dance and the prelude where future hopes were pinned.

Despite absences from the music scene to focus on the family’s sugar business, he would rebound with an even greater hit. The generation he sang to have now grown up and his song “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile” was perfect for the reunion times. For the baby boomers, it was like he was there with a song at life’s every twist and turn as they went through the passage of time.

He was a master of simple words and for that he was sought after by ad agencies. He transformed jingles into classic hits making him the King Jingle Maker of all times.    The jingles were songs with memorable heart piercing refrains to which everyone could sing to and  the commercials became bigger than most jukebox hits.

For PAL  he wrote “Love At 30,000 Feet”; for the BBC he wrote “Big Beautiful Country” ; for Comtrust Bank, “New Horizons”; A Cherished Part of Me” was for the centennial anniversary of the Bank of Philippine Islands; Radio Romance for Tambayan Radio; and then there was Dial Soap , Alaska, Komatsu Machines and many more happy selling tunes.

By the time he released his very own Christmas album for the Filipino’s best loved season he had proven his staying power in the ever- fickle entertainment industry and sealed his reputation as an icon in Philippine music.  A multi “Awit Awards” winner, he was undeniably a prolific songwriter and his songs were performed by most of the Philippines’ top name entertainers.

Today, he occupies himself with his sugar business, his music publishing business, “Signature Music” and continues to entertain and stir the souls of Filipino audiences around the world.

When Jose Mari Chan steps up on stage in Australia, it’s guaranteed to be a nostalgic blast unleashing an avalanche of emotions.  He’ll take everyone back in time to revisit a bygone era, though each one will savour privately their own precious memories attached to each song.  It’ll be a heart’s journey.


Jose Mari Chan will be performing in Brisbane, 19 October, Melbourne, 21 October and in Sydney on October 26 at Blacktown Workers and on 28 October at Mounties.

Tags: Features