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Biography

Hotdog (also known as The Hotdog Band) is a Filipino band formed by brothers Dennis and Rene Garcia together with silk-voiced Ella del Rosario as the solo female lead singer, changing the culture and charisma of Filipino music history from folk to pop in their 1974 mega-hit Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko.

Ella, along with original band members, Lorrie Ilustre and Ramon Torralba were personally handpicked by brothers Dennis and Rene Garcia who were instantly enamored by Ella's voice and beauty during a private party hosted by Assumption Convent colegialas in Forbes Park. Ella's sensual style and vocal repertoire was the driving force behind mega-platinum hits as Pers Lab (First Love), Bitin Ako Sa Iyo, You Make Me Blush and other hits from their first LP and movie entitled Unang Kagat (First Bite), both mediums achieved countrywide musical fame in the Philippines during the mid-1970s. Their first album Unang Kagat was released in 1974 by Villar Records. The album led to the 1975 movie by the same name, also starring the band. The band is credited by local journalists as a major influence and leading exponent of Manila Sound, a musical genre popular during that period. Their songs and Ella's voice have been used in numerous popular movies, television and radio commercials, videoke products, etc.

With their newfound manager Baby Del Rosario, the original band members were Ella del Rosario as lead female vocals, Rene Garcia on male vocals/lead guitarist, Ramon Torralba as 2nd lead guitarist, Tito Del Rosario on 3rd lead guitar, Dennis Garcia on bass guitar, Lorrie Ilustre on keyboards with Jess Garcia and Roy Diaz de Rivera as drummers. Later members were Gina Montes, Maso Diez and ZsaZsa Padilla (vocals), Rene Enriquez, and Andy Caberte (keyboards). In 1976, Ella del Rosario was wooed by Sony, OctoArts and BlackGold records and was quickly signed up by OctoArts under Orly Ilacad and Canary Records, catapulting into iconic fame and superstardom dishing out a succession of Platinum hits, O Lumapit Ka, Mr. Disco, Sabik Na Sabik, Lagi Na Lamang, Pabulong, Hahabol-Habol, Pers Lab 2, and many others. Having won several consecutive awards at the Metro Pop Festivals, Ella was soon dubbed "Disco Queen" and Manila's "Samba Queen" by press and media moguls such as Julie a Yap Daza, Doroy Valencia and Crispina Belen. Many other musicians thereafter joined the Hotdog band but stayed for only a few stints, the band's chemistry was waning. After Ella went on to blossom her illustrious solo career, along with earning a Magna Cum Laude BA Marketing Communications degree in Maryknoll College and Lorrie Ilustre became a musical director for other pop groups such as Apo Hiking Society, the band never recovered its status as it once was with its true original members.

At a time when Filipino music was hardly favored and practically in limbo, Hotdog, the Pinoy pop rock band springboarded Filipino music and started a revolution that we know today as Original Pinoy Music. It was during the 70's that the local music industry was topped by foreign music that were playing disco and funk sounds. Most local artists would imitate these foreign tunes in the hopes to become visible. However, when Ella del Rosario, Dennis Garcia, Rene Garcia, Ramn Torralba, who composed the music of mega-hit, Pers Lab, Lorrie Ilustre, Jess Garcia and Roy Diaz de Rivera first came together, the music landscape in the Philippines completely changed.

The band started the phenomenon of "Manila Sound" which transformed the industry, giving it a fresh, new, and authentic Pinoy sound that undeniably captured millions of Filipinos of all socio-economic classes-from the masa to the rich and high-class including the Marcos family. Hotdog's music created songs with delightful rhythms intermixed with catchy lyrics of Tagalog and Taglish reflecting the situations and sentiments of ordinary Filipinos.

It is because of the Manila Sound, created by Hotdog, that the music industry in the Philippines flourished from the latter times of the mid-70s onward. Many of the band's and Ella's solo singles became a hit and received gold and platinum status.

One of their biggest hits is the song Bongga Ka, 'Day (1974). With the song was a motion picture released with the same title as the song with famous and renowned cast members such as Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Joseph Estrada, Fernando Poe Jr. and Boots Anson-Roa. Another one of their hit songs, Annie Batungbakal, also became a popular and successful movie.

The hits of Hotdog also sang of the relevant issues. The 'Manila' song was a song dedicated to the millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW's) who are away from their families and long the taste of their homeland, Manila, Philippines.

Not only was Hotdog a local phenomenon but they also had the opportunity of taking the international limelight on July 21, 1974, the band performed in the proclamation rites of the Miss Universe beauty pageant. Newly formed as a group, Thor inaugural performance of the hit song, Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko, with Ella del Rosario and Rene Garcia dishing out a unique and timely duet at the then Folk Arts Theatre in the Philippines, catapulted them into fame and stardom with a worldwide television audience as instant fans.

Amidst the success and fame that the band was garnering, Hotdog disbanded in the mid-80's because the members wanted to pursue individual interests.

Hotdog as a "music band" reunited sometime (without Ella, Lorrie or Ramon, three original members) in 2000 to perform various gigs. In June 17, 2014, the band held a benefit concert for the Tacloban victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Many claimed there was only one voice that could never be replicated, both in reminiscing the original soundtrack, and its accompanying memories, or the scintillating quality of a uniquely smooth and silky voice and that was the unforgettable voice of Ella del Rosario.

Most band members have since pursued other careers. Former vocalist Rita Trinidad is an entrepreneur, while Garcia is a co-founder of Bandang Pinoy Co-Op, an organization that helps aging and retired musicians develop new skills and find employment.

Lead vocalist Rene Garcia died on September 2, 2018.

Songs
Panaginip - dreaming of a loved one
Annie Batungbakal - about a disco queen from "Frisco" (San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City) and her addiction to partying
Beh, Buti Nga - getting even with a past crush who never knew you existed
Bitin Sa'yo - about a lover who never felt loved 'in public'. Another Ella and Rene duet hit.
Bongga Ka 'Day - a tribute to a 'fashionista'
Can't Forget You - English love song with Zsa-Zsa Padilla
Dying to Tell You - About not being able to express one's feelings
Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko - a serenade to all beautiful Filipina women, Hotdog's inaugural 1974 hit duetted by Rene Garcia and Ella del Rosario
Ikaw Pa Rin - after so many loves, only one love matters
Kasi Naman - even after all the fights, you're still in love. Music composition by Ella del Rosario
Langit Na Naman - tells that it's like heaven when you see, smell or be with someone you love
Manila - an ode to the Philippines' famous capital
O, Lumapit Ka - Ella del Rosario's Solo signature seductive samba tune, her first mega-hit under her solo career and OctoArts' Canary Label, not under the Hotdog band.
Pers Lab - loving from a distance, Hotdog's first mega-platinum hit under Villar Records sung and popularized by Ella del Rosario in 1974. Many covers and renditions of this song have emerged since but none have compared to the original version, both in releases sold, level of heartfelt rendering, or memories reminisced.
Covers
The most cover versions of the song "Manila" were by Gary V., the Eraserheads & Side A, also a duet with Rene Garcia and Ramon Jacinto.
Parokya Ni Edgar covered and did their own version of "Beh, Buti Nga!"
Color It Red, Accafellas and a duet with Rene Garcia and RJ Jacinto covered the song Bongga Ka Day.
Nikki Gil did her version of a song composed by Ella del Rosario, Kasi Naman.
True Faith also recorded and did a cover version of Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko.
Daniel Padilla and Donna Cruz also covered Langit Na Naman
Fil-British Singer Charlie Green also covered Pers Lab and became his 1st Tagalog song.

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