Once upon a time during the 70’s, in the days of martial law and way before the age of the internet, show bands dominated the local entertainment circuit. When Television was limited by the government to only one station, the band scene was pretty much all the entertainment the young ones could look forward to in those very tense times. The old Dewey Boulevard (now called Roxas Boulevard) rocked and kept the nightlife alive with their sounds all the way until the mornings of those curfewed evenings.
There was one band that would eventually become the #1 band in the Philippines: the Circus Band. Long-haired and bell-bottomed, they grooved in their plat-formed shoes at bars like the Wells Fargo, Rino’s and D’Flame. Founded by Atek Jacinto, the Circus played for schools, television shows, and concerts all around the nation and had a total of 5 albums recorded. Whether or not it was a conscious intention of Atek, most of the members of the Circus Band were soloists in their own right. Among them were vocalists Jacqui Magno, Tillie Moreno, Pat Castillo, Basil Valdez, Hajji Alejandro, Richard Tan and Pabs Dadivas backed up by Keyboardist Boy Katindig, 2nd Keyboardist Gerry Paraiso+, Lead Guitarist Rudy Lozano, Bassist Paco Gamboa and Drummer Walter Calinawan+. Other short-lived vocalists also included Ann Marie Santos, Lory Tan, and the newer ones that eventually replaced those who left were Cerez Jacinto, Gem Jacinto, and Didith Reyes.
The band was known for its funky music, outlandish costumes and make-up, and for perfect note rendition of foreign hits. Some of the crowd favorites of the time were “Right Thing To Do”, “Betcha By Golly Wow”, “Lady Marmalade”, “Wild Flower”, “The Harder I Try” and “Love The One You’re With”. And as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Just like most bands during that time, they eventually disbanded and each member pursued and blossomed in his and her own individual careers.
As its members were one by one enticed into going solo, it looked like the Circus Band would soon fade into memory. But thanks to the individual successes of its members, the Circus Band went on to become the living legend that it is today. Hit after hit song came with Basil’s “Ngayon At Kailanman”, Hajji’s “Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika”, Jacqui’s “Capture The Changes”, Tillie’s “Saan Ako Nagkamali”, Pat’s “Aso’t Pusa”, Richard Tann’s “No One Throws Away Memories” and Pabs’ “Mahal”. Now, with the snowballing demand for reunion concerts, the Circus that has once upon a time come into town apparently never left after all. I have uploaded a few Soulful cuts for your listening pleasure below.