Whoever picked “Love’s Theme” to be the music for Cathay Pacific Airways commercials was a genius.
Though used in the States as the music for everything from golf tournaments to news channels, “Love’s Theme” and Cathay Pacific was a perfect fit. They made that connection. It was CX in the skies and a different kinda mile high Club.
A friend sent me a video of the Cathay Pacific commercial over the weekend that used Barry Whyte’s “Love’s Theme” recorded by his 40 piece Love Unlimited Orchestra and asked what came to mind.
It didn’t matter that the editing of the piece of advertising wasn’t particularly good. It’s how it made me feel: elated, free, romantic, exuberant and optimistic- and more.
As a piece of music, “Love’s Theme” just sweeps you off your feet. There’s that wonderful opening with all those lush strings that takes off and leads one to the beautiful melody line.
Behind this George Benson type of “Breezin’” melody, there’s a very subtle wah wah guitar played by, well, Wah Wah Watson (Melvin Ragin) adding the faint flick of a beat throughout the track.
It’s another bit of magic as is the fact that the Love Unlimited Orchestra included, amongst its members, musicians like Lee Ritenour, Kenny G, Ray Parker Jr, Gene Page, Nathan East, Wilton Felder, Ernie Watts, David T Walker and others.
Even more magical is how closely associated this music is and will always be with Hong Kong- a Hong Kong gone forever, but still very much in many of our hearts.
There have been many songs written about Hong Kong- most quite awful- but this instrumental from 1973 says more about the city than any words. And that’s even more magical.
For myself, I am especially reminded of a very attractive girl I knew in early 2000 leaving all inhibitions behind on the dance floor and moving to the track. Girls somehow moved differently then.
She was in her own world which attracted a chorus line of her girlfriends to join her.
That dance floor belonged to them. It really was a love’s theme to Hong Kong and I’ll always remember her smiling while she was dancing.
Seductive? Sensual? All of the above. That scene dancing in my head of one that got away took me all around the world and a journey through Hong Kong- and the excitement of returning home to Hong Kong.
London, Amsterdam, New York and other cities were fine, but one couldn’t wait to get back home to the welcoming arms and familiarity of Hong Kong.
It’s quite amazing that here is an instrumental track from way back then that’s still so closely tied to Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific- the airline and the stewardesses.
Singapore Girl with her fabulous Kris Flyer uniform might have been a great way to fly, but there was something extra special about boarding a Cathay Pacific flight, hearing “Love’s Theme” and knowing that for the next twelve hours or so there’d be the chance to get to know one of those attractive stewardesses in that red uniform.
Yes, I have a thing about women in uniform. Even policewomen.
At a time when many of us are wondering when Hong Kong might find its way home and we see the return of tourism to make the city what it isn’t today, one hopes that the timeless “Love’s Theme” will be the musical glue that binds and inspires.
It’s Hong Kong’s unofficial national anthem. This brilliant piece of music brings back memories of everything that was good about this city and why it will always stay with many of us.