OPM SINGING LEGEND and JUKEBOX KING VICTOR WOOD Dead at 75

Time is now at two decades into the 21st Century, two decades since the end of the 20th. New things appear as old things fade away. Even the hottest stuff from the latter part of the 20th Century like the Seventies is disappearing from the world, a sorrowful progression. Take for instance recording artist Victor Wood, who in his heyday in that decade was hailed as the “Jukebox King,” so ubiquitous his songs were. Even contemporary Filipinos might still remember him when they sing selections from the OPM section of videoke. An icon of Filipino music, the overall genre was left poorer by Wood’s passing.

According to The Manila Bulletin, hit recording artist Victor Wood, who popularized quite the number of “Standard” songs in Philippine pop music, has died this Friday, April 23, at the age of 75. His death was announced by his wife Nerissa Wood, explaining that he succumbed to complications of COVID-19 at the New Era General Hospital, Quezon City, at about 9 AM. Wood was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, April 21, to be treated for asthma, only to learn that he had contracted COVID. On the evening of Thursday, April 22, his oxygen level was reported to have declined.

Born in Buhi, Camarines Sur to an American father and Filipino mother in 1946, Wood’s initial foray into entertainment was as a film actor with minor roles, capitalizing on his American mestizo looks. In the late 1960s however, he started recording songs, and it was as a singer that he is primarily remembered, with his songs being credited for organically transitioning the country’s music scene on to “Manila Sound” and OPM. His career saw the release of26 albums and near two dozen singles. In the 1980s he tried his hand at entering politics, and later still became an exhibited painter.

Victor Wood was also an adherent of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), and his widow thanked the church leadership along with the artist’s fans for having loved him throughout the decades. “To the friends who were always there and to his children who despite being far away have mourned with me and to the fans, thank you for your untiring support,” Nerissa says in a statement. “He may be gone, but his songs still remain.”

Image courtesy of Rappler

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