Arts & Entertainment

21 OPM One-Hit Wonders

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Love ‘em or hate ‘em, one thing’s for sure: When it comes to one hit wonders, there’s no denying that you, at least, know them. There have been plenty of lists done about international artists achieving massive popularity with one song and then fading away into obscurity, but make no mistake, we have our fair share of OPM one-hit wonders, too. Here’s a list to get you started:

1| “Long Hair”

The Weed

For decades men have asserted their right to grow their hair out, and in the 90s, things came to a, well, head, when a bunch of kids finally had enough and decided to write a song about it.

Standout lyric: “Anong paki mo, sa long hair ko? Inggit ka lang, kasi ikaw, nakakalbo.”

2| “Ang Tipo Kong Lalaki”

DJ Alvaro

People were up in arms when this song came out in the early '90s. They couldn’t believe a strong, confident woman could sing about wanting a man who wasn’t a complete gentleman. They couldn’t believe a woman could be bold enough to sing about wanting a man, period.

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Standout lyric: “Ayaw ko sa sobrang maginoo, dahil baka ako ay mabato.” And of course, “Ang tipo kong lalaki maginoo, pero medyo bastos.”

3| “Scream”

Wyrd

Wyrd (apparently an acronym for W’re Young Rockin’ Dudettes) were a trio of sassy, no-nonsense girls who channeled the spirit of artists like M2M (those Norwegian girls who sang “Don’t Say You Love Me”). When this song came out, vocalist and songwriter Nikka Paloma’s vocal style made people wonder if they were actually foreigners. 

Standout lyric: It’s an entire song ripped out from the pages of a pimply teenage girl’s diary. “How come I can’t turn you down? I’m so confused and so inflamed. Oh I just can’t stand to see you frown.”

4| “Stupid Luv”

Salbakuta

The answer to that age-old question: What do you get when you let the protege rap group of Andrew E. fiddle with the classic Barbra Streisand song from her version of “A Star is Born”? 

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Standout lyric: Tough to choose, in a song that’s full of them, but this one is something else: “Para kay sphinx, ugali mo’y napaka-stinks, kung hiyain mo ko talagang nakaka-shrink.”

5| “Let Me Be The One”

Jimmy Bondoc 

Now an official with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Jimmy Bondoc was part of the local singer-songwriter boom of the early aughts, alongside musicians like Paolo Santos and Nyoy Volante. His other songs didn’t quite have as much impact as this one, though.

Standout lyric: “Nobody told me you’d been dying but didn’t want to fight. Nobody told me that you fell out of love from me, so I’m setting you free.”

6| “Bawal na Gamot”

Willy Garte

With the attention that this administration’s drug war has generated, you’d think somebody would have done a proper cover of this song already. Maybe no one dares because the original is just so darn haunting. 

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Standout lyric: “O kay sarap ng buhay, kung siya’y aking nalalanghap. Akala ko ang mundo ay wala nang katapusan.”

7| “Five Years”

Sugar Hiccup

Sugar Hiccup were one of the standout OPM bands in the 1990s and they achieved that honor mostly on the strength of this song. They released other songs, but none quite as impactful and memorable as this one. 

Standout lyric: “But he will never be mAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEEE HEEEEEE HEEEEEE”

8| “Itsumo”

Dice & K9

Dice & K9 have traveled the world thanks to their Pinoy-tinged hip-hop. They’ve recorded other songs like “Best Friend” and “Scenario,” but you have to admit, you hear Dice & K9, you immediately think this song. 

Standout lyric: Got to be, “Baby girl be my first lady. Be the mom of my first baby.” That or the whole verse where he’s just spelling out the words.

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9| “Ako’y Sa Yo, Ika’y Akin”

I Axe

As a musician, you have to wonder sometimes: Would you rather have one hit you’ll be known as for the rest of your career or no hit at all? This group certainly belongs in the former. Performed endlessly in countless watering holes with “acoustic” singers, the song has become a modern classic. 

Standout lyric: “At kung di ka makita, makikiusap kay Bathala, na ika’y hanapin at sabihin, ipaalala sa iyo, ang nakalimutang sumpaan.”

10| “Larawang Kupas”

Jerome Abalos

Nostalgia almost always guarantees repeated listens, but this song takes it a step further by being about an object that elicits that emotion. Released in 2000, the song is from Abalos who, sadly, failed to follow-up with another hit. 

Standout lyric: “Kapit kamay tayong dalawa, nakangit at kapwa masaya, at ang tunay na pagmamahal nakalarawan kahit kupas na.”

11| “Bikining Itim”

Bert Dominic

If this song sounds familiar, it must be because you heard it sampled by the late artist Blakdyak in his own song called “Modelong Charing.” But the original from Bert Dominic, who was most active in the 1970s, is still oddly amusing and catchy. We’re not sure how many other hits Mr. Dominic has had in his career, but we’re willing to bet no other song is quite as titillating and fun.

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Standout lyric: “Ang iniingat-ingatan ko, kaisa-isang bikini mo, na tinatago-tago ko pa, at katabi sa pagtulog ko. Ako’y dumadalangin, na kahit manawari, huwag sanang sungkitin, bikini mong itim, na alay mo sa’kin.”

12| “You Won’t See Me Crying”

Passage

Most people who grew up in the ‘90s would no doubt remember this song, but not many realize that it’s actually a cover of a track by the duo of Gerry Paraiso and Len Castillo. The original has groovy ’60s disco tinge, but Passage turned it into a pop ballad and made it their own. Some might argue the band released other songs like “Seasons,” and “Misty Glass Window,” but we think only “You Won’t See Me Crying” qualifies as a hit.

Standout lyric: “My love’s been knocking at your door; do you hear it? Do you really, really care?”

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13| “Cool Ka Lang”

Prettier than Pink

Google “Prettier Than Pink songs” and a bunch of them turn up, but there’s no question the band is most known for this massive 1997 hit. It even became the title of a sitcom that aired on GMA7.

Standout lyric: “Overtime daw, nag-good time lang pala. Pag uwi ng bahay, amoy alak pa siya.”

14| “Pain in My Heart”

Second Wind

After Side A founding member Rodel Gonzalez left the band, he formed another group called Second Wind. Their debut record included this song, which won the Awit Award for Best Performance by a New Group Recording Artist in 1996.

Standout lyric: “I don’t want to hear the songs, the songs we used to sing, cause I don’t want to feel the pain in my heart.”

 

15| "Pagdating ng Panahon"

Ice Seguerra

Ice Seguerra (formerly known as Aiza Seguerra) has been in the public eye since he was a six-year-old in Eat Bulaga, but his music career took off after releasing this song in 2001. It was such a massive hit that you couldn’t turn the radio dial without hearing a station playing it. The song also won multiple awards, including Song of the Year at the Awit Awards a year later.

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Standout lyric: “Di pa siguro bukas, di parin ngayon. Malay mo balang araw, dumating din yon.”

16| “Why Can’t It Be”

Rannie Raymundo

Rannie Raymundo was a prolific singer and entertainer in the '90s and 2000s, but he hasn’t had a major hit quite like this one. The song about lovers not quite understanding why they couldn’t be together was so big it has spawned multiple covers and revivals, including one by artist Kaye Cal. 

Standout lyric: “Baby I dream of you every minute, you’re in my dreams, you’re always in it. That’s the only place I know where you could be mine. And I’m yours but only till I wake up.”

17| “Di Mo Man Hanapin”

Article Six

We don’t know much about Article Six beyond the fact that they recorded this track, but we thank them just the same because this is just one of those nice, pleasant songs that you can put on and be reminded of how great OPM can be.

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Standout lyric: "(Di mo man hanapin) Kusang lumalapit. (Di mo man hanapin) Ang aking damdamin. (Di mo ba nakikita) Aking pagmamahal, na para lang sa yo."

 

18| “Iba Ka Na Pala Ngayon”

Mike Luis

When this came out in 1997, we couldn’t decide if Mike Luis was annoying or a genius. The high-pitched vocals is certainly an acquired taste, but there’s something daring and unique about this song.

Standout lyric: “Naalala ko pa nga, kay ganda ng iyong mukha. Pero ngayon nagpalagay ka na ng hikaw sa ilong. Daig mo pa si Madonna.”

19| “Ikaw Lang”

Chad Borja

Chad Borja was a popular singer back in the 1990s, and this song is undoubtedly one of his most well-known hits and a classic example of an OPM one-hit wonder. The song itself is pretty straightforward, perhaps even annoyingly so, but aren’t all songs that stand the test of time like that?

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Standout lyric: “Gabi-gabi na lang sa pagtulog ko, ikaw lang ang panaginip ko. Pag ako’y gising na, ikaw pa rin ang nasa isip.”

20| “Ang Aking Awitin”

Bong Gabriel

The second Metro Pop Song Festival held in 1979 produced such OPM classics as “Bulag, Pipi at Bingi,” “Ewan,” and this one, which was Gabriel’s one and only hit. It has since been covered and popularized by later artists like Side A.

Standout lyric: “At kung ako’y lumipas at limot na, and awitin kong ito’y alaala ka.”

21| “Saddam”

Lady Diane

Back in the late 1980s, when the US was in the midst of the First Gulf War, Pinoy “rapper” Lady Diane addressed the socio-political issues of the day with this song. There’s really not much else we can say about this gem, so best for you to hear it yourself.

Standout lyric: “Presyo ng gasolina ay nakakainis, lagi na lang itinatago ang supply ng langis. No wonder everybody is going insane, lahat sila’y bine-blame si Mr. Hussein.”

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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