Hotdog founder and Manila Sound pioneer Dennis Garcia passes away

Edwin P. Sallan

Posted at Jan 19 2020 09:52 AM

OPM icon and Manila Sound pioneer Dennis Garcia. Photo from the music artist's Facebook page

MANILA -- Dennis Garcia, founding member of the legendary Filipino band Hotdog, passed away Saturday night as posted by his youngest daughter Isa on his Facebook page early Sunday morning. He was 69 years old. 

Garcia or Mr. D as he is fondly referred to by friends and colleagues in the music industry is the older brother of Rene Garcia, lead singer of Hotdog who passed away in 2018. As pioneers of the so-called Manila Sound sub-genre, Hotdog helped usher a golden age of Original Pilipino Music that began in the mid-70s. 

Together with brother Rene, the elder Garcia wrote most of the band’s biggest hits including “Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko,” “Manila,” “Annie Batungbakal,” “Bongga Ka Day,” “Langit na Naman” and “Beh Buti Nga.” 

Over the years and despite numerous line-up changes, Hotdog’s popularity never waned as evidenced by the constant clamor for them to continue performing their greatest hits. Just this decade alone, the band headlined several reunion concerts. Even after Rene’s passing, Hotdog continued to be in high demand in the live circuit with recent high-profile shows at the Hard Rock Café, 19 East Bar & Grill and Bar 360 of Resorts World Manila. 

Garcia himself initiated the band’s show at 19 East last November to pay tribute to brother Rene, Joey “Pepe” Smith and Rico J. Puno, who were honored by the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) with their own commemorative postage stamps as part of its recently launched Pinoy Music Icons collection. 

Also known for his work in advertising, Garcia dabbled in the visual arts as well in recent years. In 2013, he spearheaded “Pers Lab Atbp,” an exhibit featuring paintings that interpreted Hotdog’s original songs. The artworks were created not only by himself but also creative friends like Nelson Cruz, Myra Mendoza-Portillo, Dennis Magdamo and Bong Pedro. 

Five years later, Garcia, Cruz and photographer Quincy Castillo mounted “Tres Pares,” a similar exhibit again based on Hotdog’s classic tunes. 

Late last year, Hotdog again made headlines when their signature song, “Manila” was used in the opening of Southeast Asian Games. 

Asked why Hotdog’s music has stood the test of time, Garcia told this writer in a 2011 interview that “the remarkable staying power can also be attributed to the subject matter of the songs and the style of writing - simple, down to earth, unpretentious, real.” 

“And those qualities are what a great legacy is made of,” Garcia concluded. 

Garcia is survived by his wife Pam and children Angela, Paolo and Isa.