MANILA, Philippines—American jazz and pop singer Jack Jones is 76, and still singing the tunes that make lovers swoon.
The two-time Grammy winner is in town, leading a pack of local and international artists scheduled to perform this Valentine week, come hell or heavy traffic in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Jones will perform in two shows—Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, and Friday at the Manila Hotel Tent.
The songs he recorded at the peak of his career in the 1960s and 1970s may not ring a bell with most of today’s youth, but listening to them now on YouTube might just lead one to discover why these carefully crafted compositions are called classics.
Like good wine
Asked why these old songs, like good aged wine, are especially appreciated during the love month of February, Jones said: “It’s their sense of intimacy that suggests quiet romance…”
Born John Allan Jones, the only son of actors Allan Jones and Irene Hervey, the young Jack attended University High School in West Los Angeles and studied drama and singing.
His first professional break was with his father, who was then performing at the Thunderbird Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
In 1961 he recorded “Lollipops and Roses.” The song won for him the Grammy Award for best pop male performance the following year. This feat would be repeated in 1964, when his recording of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David composition “Wives and Lovers” won the Grammy, again for best pop male performance.
Throughout the ’70s, Jones’ reputation as a hitmaker hardly waned, as he interpreted all sorts of tunes by other artists with confidence. One of these songs, “She,” originally recorded and cowritten by French singer Charles Aznavour in 1974, became identified with Jones after he waxed it in his 1975 album “What I Did for Love.”
Perhaps one of the greatest love songs of all time, an ode that describes the breadth of a woman’s attributes, “She” was revived by British singer-songwriter Elvis Costello that was featured in the film “Notting Hill.”
On his personal life, Jones—who has reportedly been married five times—said he is now content with his current relationship. “It may be a cliché, but I love her and she’s also my best friend. I watch her back and she watches mine. That’s very important,” he said.
His Valentine shows will face stiff competition from a number of gigs likewise targeting couples or groups of friends who will spend the next few nights reminiscing the songs of their youth.
Leading these shows is “We Got the Love: The Greatest Hits Reunion,” which features 11 all-star Filipino members of the defunct Circus Band and New Minstrels: Hajji Alejandro, Basil Valdez, Jacqui Magno, Tillie Moreno, Pat Castillo, Ray-An Fuentes, Louie Reyes, Chad Borja, Ding Mercado, Joey Albert and Eugene Villaluz; it has three performances—Thursday night, Friday at the Philippine International Convention Center; and Feb. 15 at the SMX Convention Center of SM Lanang in Davao.
Tickets to the first two nights of “We Got the Love” have reportedly sold out. Sales of the third show in Davao are also reportedly doing well.
Among the other V-Day concerts that might interest those willing to brave the traffic are:
“Valentine Serenades” with Bo Cerrudo, Robert Seña, Aicelle Santos, Rafa Siguion-Reyna and an ensemble from the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, and guests Richard Merk and Rachel Anne Wolfe; Thursday night at Solaire Resort and Casino;
“With Love, Martin and Regine” with Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez, Feb. 14, SM Mall of Asia Arena;
“The King and the Diva: Beyond Classic” with Leo Valdez and Kuh Ledesma, Feb. 14, Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila; and
“Love Moves” with Julia Fordham, and guests Annie Brazil and Richard Merk, Feb. 14, Solaire Resort and Casino.