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How Does Manny Pacquiao Have A Song At The Top Of The Billboard Charts?

Submitted by on August 12, 2011 – 8:59 am32 Comments

Right now, Manny Pacquiao has something that Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, Drake, and Young Jeezy don’t—a slot near the top of the Billboard charts.

That’s noteworthy, of course, because all five of those artists are, well, artists, while Pacquiao is an athlete. And in recent times, athletes have enjoyed little to no success in creating songs that reach the charts at all, let alone the top of the charts. But somehow, someway, Pacquiao has managed to ride out the success of his song, “Sometimes When We Touch”—a remake of singer/songwriter Dan Hill‘s 1977 song—to No. 7 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart. So, how the hell did it happen?

Well, it actually started out as a joke. Pacquiao—who is still in negotiations to fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at some point in 2012—performed “Sometimes When We Touch” on Jimmy Kimmel Live back in 2009. Though Pacquaio sang the song seriously and seemed to be trying his hardest to convince people that he was taking it seriously, Kimmel’s crowd and the millions of people who watched the video online laughed their asses off when they saw Pacquiao up on stage singing. You can see the performance here:

Pacquiao’s foray into music probably would have stopped there. But Hill himself reached out to Pacquiao shortly after seeing him on Kimmel to tell him that he enjoyed the performance. The following year, they met in person at a hotel in New York. “It was like hanging out with Elvis meets Muhammad Ali,” Hill told FOX Sports recently.

Their meeting led to an agreement between the two to work together, specifically on a remake of “Sometimes When We Touch” that would include a song, a video, and a documentary. Late last year, Pacquiao took breaks in training for his fight with Antonio Margarito to meet with Hill at Capital Studios in Los Angeles to record “Sometimes When We Touch.” And thanks to a well-placed mention in an HP ad that Pacquiao did recently, it’s taken off—much to the surprise of everyone, including Hill.

“Even if you’re Katy Perry or Justin Bieber, you have to work radio like crazy,” says Hill. “He hasn’t been doing interviews or big publicity events. So it’s even more strange that this can be happening. It’s just unheard of.”

It’s especially “unheard of” when you consider all of the other athletes that have tried to find a place in music. From Allen Iverson and Ron Artest to Deion Sanders and Chris Johnson, there have been plenty of them that have tried and inevitably failed. But Pacquiao is succeeding, because: A) He chose to hold his coming out party in the world of music by singing a familiar song that immediately resonates with people, and B) He chose to attack a genre of music that most athletes shy away from. It’s a formula that’s proved to be a winning one for Pacquiao.

Does this mean he’s an artist now? Hardly. We’d be surprised if “Sometimes When We Touch” doesn’t end up as the peak of Pacquiao’s music career. But it does keep his name in the headlines for a few more months while we all wait for more news about his fight with Mayweather. And if you don’t think Mayweather’s waiting in the wings and listening to “Sometimes When We Touch” to get a little more ammo to make the fight happen, you’re crazy.

Almost as crazy as anyone who believed Manny Pacquiao had a real chance at becoming a pop star. Well done, Manny.

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