I don’t recall who said it, but when we were growing up, I read a sage’s advice to sire a son, to plant a tree and to write a book. To which, if I may add, “write a song.” Indeed, all through my life I have written many songs. A few have been lost. Some remain unrecorded, awaiting to be given wing. Several dozens never even left the scratch paper I wrote them on. A great number of them were recorded but never aired on radio.
The natural journey of a song starts from one’s heart and soul down to paper and on to a record then to the listener, after which it runs its own life’s course. The song then becomes part of our memories and may either be kept away in the corner of our minds until someone decides to revive it or it fades into oblivion. To the songwriter, his hope is for the song to be loved and remembered long after he is gone. After all, to paraphrase Shakespeare, life is but a stage and we are all mere players that briefly fret and strut upon it and are soon gone and heard no more.
Since music is a gift given generously by God, as man writes down the notes, it is God who makes the music. Because of this, I cannot lay claim to have “created” the songs just as I can not lay claim to have given the breath of life to any of my children. Each child is unique and important just as each song is special and distinct. The songs were born out of different circumstances, created out of different inspiration and each one bears a different fruit. Unless these songs are shared, the gift that God has given would be wasted.
As you go through this book, with your fingers on the piano keys and your voice soaring with the notes, you are giving life to these songs and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart from where these words and music came in the first place.
In 1969, after graduating from college, Mary Ann left to do Catholic missionary work in Osaka, Japan. I was totally lost and could not concentrate on my work. I picked up my guitar one night and expressed the heavy feeling of emptiness in a song. Dubbing it on cassette, I mailed it to her in Osaka. She must have liked the song because the next year, she became my wife.
The song has since been covered by Sharon Cuneta, Christian Bautista, as well as by Kamahl from Australia and continues to be one of the most requested songs on radio, as well as in my concerts.