MANILA -- Don’t dare serve fruitcake on the table when Christmas comes if Eraserheads frontman and vocalist, Ely Buendia, is around. He hated fruitcake since he was a kid.
However, when the time came for the popular band to churn out an original Christmas song, Buendia immediately fielded a song, “Fruitcake,” that became the title track of the group’s fourth studio album.
“Fruitcake” was recorded in 1996, as part of the Eraserheads’ first Christmas album of the same title.
“We decided to challenge ourselves as songwriters,” Buendia told ABS-CBN News 24 years after “Fruitcake” was released. “The way to do that was to put a limitation – every song would be about Christmas.”
Written by Buendia, “Fruitcake,” however, the song did not become as popular as many other OPM Christmas ditties that came out through the years.
“It’s not as embraced as ‘Christmas in Our Hearts,’” Buendia admits, referring to Jose Mari Chan’s multi-platinum anthem. “But I’ll gladly take seconds from Mr. Chan.”
Preceded by The Eraserheads’ “Cutterpillow” album, “Fruitcake” is the longest release the group had, with 22 tracks on its list totaling to a little over an hour of songs in duration.
Aside from the title track, other hits produced by the album included “Lightyears,” “Trip To Jerusalem” and “Christmas Alphabet.” The last song was not carried in the original album, but was released in the extended play (EP) of the CD.
“I don’t think ‘Fruitcake’ is a sentimental favorite the way Gary V’s ‘Pasko Na, Sinta Ko’ is,” Buendia said. “'Fruitcake' is just a weird Christmas song that we recorded.”
Buendia even insisted that “Fruitcake” did not sell as well as Eraserheads’ previous musical outings. Hence, the album does not carry any fond memories for him.
Still, “Fruitcake” is still strongly identified as an Eraserheads’ signature Christmas song. Especially at this time when the tune is being played anew, Buendia is convinced “Fruitcake” rekindles Yuletide cheer.
“My enjoyment of Christmas stems from being with my loved ones and exchanging gifts,” shared Buendia, who celebrated his 50th birthday last November 2.
Other tracks in “Fruitcake” that Buendia also wrote were “Shadow,” “Old Fashioned Christmas Carol,” “Styrosnow,” “Santa Ain’t Comin’ No Mo,” “Christmas Party,” “Christmas Morning,” “Rise and Shine” and “Merry Christmas Everybody, Happy New Year, Too.”
The three other Eraserheads members also penned the rest of the cuts. Buddy Zabala contributed “The Fabulous Baker Boy,” “Shadow Boxes Accountants,” “Fruit Fairy” and “Shadow Reads the News Today, Oh Boy.”
Raimund Marasigan composed “Flat Tire,” “Gatekeeper,” “Christmas Ball,” “Mono Virus” and “Hitchin’ a Ride,” while Marcus Adoro wrote “Lord of the Rhum,”
Here are the other songs in our "Behind the Music" series.