Most 60s music lovers and those in the business, play this song over and over again because of its haunting melody and heart rendering tale of a parent’s love for a wayward child. It has captured the ears and hearts of many Singaporeans and to many, it seems to be the only folk song that comes from this beautiful country of music, love and 7,107 islands.
The original Tagalog version that brought it an international success, climbed fast to the top ten charts in Japan and Europe; over 30 million copies were sold worldwide, with more than 100 cover versions and 55 conversions in 27 languages, including English.
The singer is Freddie Aguilar, the one Asian singer, and composer who broke into the western market with this unbelievably poignant song. Aguilar has been given the distinction of being the only Asian artist to achieve worldwide fame. It was such a big hit that Billboard Magazine reported it as a No. 2 on the Top 100 Hits of the World in the 80s.
Go to any nightspot in Singapore today and the song is still being played by our local artistes, sometimes in Tagalog and sometimes in English. I first heard it sung by a Filipino singer at the former Glass Hotel at Havelock Road.
Article: Andy Lim