Before the name “OPM” was coined, the term used for contemporary pop music in the Philippines, particularly during the martial law era, was “Manila Sound”. Beginning in the mid to late 1970s, the genre gave rise to a number musical acts that remain memorable to this very day, courtesy of radio stations reserving airtime for these oldies. Easily recalled names of Manila Sound acts include luminaries like VST & Co., Boyfriends, and Hotdog, whose song “Manila” is said to be where the genre name comes from. It is a tragedy then that one of Hotdog’s members passed away this Sunday.
Inquirer.net reports that Rene Garcia, lead guitarist for Hotdog which was one of the pioneers of OPM precursor the Manila Sound, has died the evening of September 2 in the evening. The news was shared by his brother Dennis, who revealed that Rene died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 65 years old. He also shared it on his Facebook page, with a photograph of his brother accompanied by the caption “I will miss you like hell, bro!”
While its roster rotating with departures and replacements over the years, Hotdog in its original composition was formed by brothers Rene and Dennis Garcia in 1972 with a number of other musicians and their first vocalist Ella Del Rosario. Their numerous hit songs of the Manila Sound period remain favorite listening for many to this day, such as singles like “Panaginip”, “Annie Batungbakal”, “Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko”, “Bongga Ka Day” and “Manila”. They have also managed to perform before international audiences such as when they performed “Miss Universe” at the namesake beauty pageant when it was held in the Philippines in 1974.
“Perhaps the music industry will now give him the recognition he deserves in changing OPM in the country,” Dennis Garcia, who played bass as part of Hotdog, remarked on how his brother’s passing might be paid tribute to and commemorated by the Philippine Music Industry. He further announced to fans of their band that Rene’s wake will commence this Monday, September 3, where the original co-founder of one of the Manila Sound bands will be lying in state at the Agoncillo Chapel of the Manila Memorial Chapels in Sucat, Parañaque.
Image courtesy of Rappler