Vilma Santos’ first started singing in the 1964 film “Ging”. She played a child singing sensation opposite drama staple, Olivia Cenizal. Her career continued with a string of dramatic roles and when the musical trends started in the late 60s her career aspiration became limited mainly because everyone expected young stars to sing well. She admitted her limited range as a singer and instead concentrated on her promising acting talents and dancing. When she found commercial success with Edgar Mortiz in a love team, she would occasionally sing with him. The success of this love team lead to numerous films and eventually her own album.
She released her first album in 1969 under Willears Record, selling 500,000 units making it the company’s surprise record-breaking album of that year. The signature song, “Sixteen” became the most played single also that year. The young Vilma won a Golden Record Award for her debut album that comprised of 16 English songs including four original songs composed and arranged by Dannie Subido.
Vilma’s record-breaking sales shot her career into high gear. She continued to act in several musical films and at the same time kept recording. Not only did Vilma record her follow-up album, she recorded a string of singles. She also ventured into Tagalog songs, recording six songs that include instants hits like “Isipin Mong Basta’t Mahal Kita”, a theme song to a film she did opposite Filipino chess grand master, Eugene Torre; “Palong-Palo”, which she received a golden record award for in 1974 and also an up-tempo opm song titled “Tok-Tok Palatok”, another theme song from the comedy film with the same title opposite Jojit Paredes. Vilma and Edgar also released several records together like “Something Stupid,” a song that they regularly sung on their TV show, “The Sensations” and “Christmas Tiding,” a collection of holiday songs featuring “Silver Bells”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. She also shared equal billing with Edgar Mortiz, Esperanza Fabon, Ed Finlan, Hilda Koronel, and Sahlee Quizon in a Christmas compilation album titled “Christmas Carols”.
Vilma followed up with another two albums on Willears, “Sweethearts” and “Aloha My Love” again both with her off and on screen love partner, Edgar Mortiz. This was followed up with the solo album “Sweet, Sweet, Vilma”, a much more ambitious offering with Vilma doing popular cover songs. The album was a success and she followed this up with another album “All I See Is You” featuring the folk song, “Ati Cu Pung Sing-sing” and “Wonderful World Of Music”. The latter song becoming the title of a musical film that paired Vilma with Edgar and co-starred Snooky, Tony Ferrer, and Boots Anson Roa.
By 1972, Vicor Music Corporation took over Vilma’s singing career. With the guidance of Orly Ilacad, Vilma recorded original compositions that were light hearted, up-tempo and simple. The album “Sing Vilma Sing” featuring the single, “Bobby Bobby Bobby” became another instant hit despite the declaration of Martial law in 1972. In 1973, Vilma after almost one hundred films with Edgar Mortiz decided it was time to venture out of the love team and test the water as solo star. This move also signaled the end of her singing career.
Here we have her version “My Boy Lollipop” (originally “My Girl Lollypop”) a song written in the mid-1950s by Robert Spencer of the doo-wop group The Cadillacs, and usually credited to Spencer, Morris Levy, and Johnny Roberts. It was first recorded in New York in 1956 by Barbie Gaye. A later version, recorded in 1964 by Jamaican teenager Millie Small, with very similar rhythm, became one of the top-selling ska songs of all time.