We don’t have to be reminded it’s Jose Mari Chan season again, and it’s officially okay to play “Christmas in our Hearts”—which turns 30 years old this year, can you imagine?— over and over as if it’s the only Christmas song ever made.
Last night, though, the tireless Joe, who has been making music since 1965, was in the weekly online talk show “Wag Po!” over One PH. The show’s hosts, Lourd de Veyra, Patrick Paez, Melvyn Calderon, Jove Francisco and Manny Mogato, together with Mr. Songwriter himself, reminded viewers of the commercial jingles Chan composed over the decades—sparking trips down memory lane for many of us who grew up watching TV in the 70s and 80s.
Does “There are Chinese soups, and there are Chinese soups” ring a bell?
How about “No one throws a Hallmark card away. ‘Cause no one throws away memories”?
Here are those jingles that JMC composed, proof that there’s more to him than “Christmas in our Hearts” and, yes, that Shopee x “Baby Shark” mashup.
1 So good it was remade later on with a “The Last Emperor”-themed TVC. But the original is always the best—sang by Richard Tann in a suit. “Just add one egg!” was its most famous line, a handy last-step reminder for every guy who prepares the ready-to-cook soup. The origin of the Pinoy-coined praise, “Goodah!” if memory serves.
2 “Long after your phone call has faded away. Long after your warm hello has dimmed,” it begins. Floating in a melody that’s just made for reminiscing. The song that sold a million Hallmark cards, and the reason why many years after his passing, we will always be reminded of that awesome, cool, menthol cigarette voice of Richard Tann.
3 “Sa sustansya’t lasa, walang tatalo. Walang tatalo sa Alaska.” Simple lyrics, fantastic melody. The reason many of us drank milk from a can.
4 Perhaps no one else captured the imagined promise of the Martial Law era’s New Society better than the grandiose melody and brimming-with-hope lyrics of this jingle and the next entry on this list. “Big, Beautiful Country” was the theme for the network Banahaw Broadcasting Company which took over the old ABS-CBN property and operations in Bohol Avenue—closed as it was by the dictatorship. The voices of Joe, Basil Valdez, Tillie Moreno, and Nonong Pedero only helped this jingle soar.
5 And then there’s “Love at 30,000 Feet” which makes us think of a PAL aircraft taking off every time we hear it (it’s included in Mr. Chan’s Golden Collection album), and the glamour of traveling in the 70s when people used to dress up for a flight.
6 When ATMs were new (and stood for automated teller machine, not At The Moment). Targeted to the “people on the move,” who didn’t have the time for traditional banking. We still remember the line, “We are the leader, there is no other, BPI Express Teller!”
7 “Kuskos, piga.” That moment calamansi officially ventured out of the kitchen, entered the laundry soap business, and gave us a detergent bar in green.
8 You only need to listen to “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile” to know he’s the king of easy-listening romantic songs. So it’s but natural that he compose the theme for the ABS-CBN all-love-songs station, Radio Romance.
There’s a lot more, of course, and Mr Chan has wisely compiled all these little ditties he composed over the years in an album called Strictly Commercial—now available on Spotify. With voices that include Celeste Legaspi, Fides Cuyugan Asencio, Subas Herrero, the Apo Hiking Society and many more, he calls it “74 minutes of uninterrupted commercials, featuring an all-star cast and 30 years in the making.” Thank you for the music, Joe!