Feelings of love all around

International singer/songwriter Morris Albert has that special touch for bringing couples together, especially when they hear his 1974 multi-platinum hit "Feelings," known the world over for its sentimental lyrics and moving melody.

Several years ago, he met a couple who had been separated for two years and were planning to meet the next day with their lawyers to divorce. They decided to spend their last night together seeing Albert's concert, to remember the song that was popular when they started dating, he said.

"They came up to me after the show crying and said they decided to get back together," he said.

He'll perform that hit and others at "Morris Albert: Unplugged & Personal," a benefit concert for a children's literacy campaign in the Philippines Saturday night at the Colony Theatre ? his only concert scheduled while he's in the country.

The Rio de Janeiro-born performer spends most of his time in Brazil and Italy, but makes frequent visits to his mother, who lives in California.

He attributed the success of his hit "Feelings" to its message, which is about something everyone has felt in their lifetime, he said.

"I think it's just because the song is very simple, and simple things are hard to come by," he said. "And it talks about something everybody went through. The melody is simple."

Albert is grateful that the song did so well on the charts, he said.

"I have to thank God for this," he said. "Just to have one like that ? it's enough."

Since then, he has written music for hundreds of movies, commercials and TV shows, recorded 16 albums and has 100 gold and platinum records to his credit, he said. The 55-year-old has been writing songs since he was 19, with "Feelings" becoming a hit when he was 22.

During Saturday's concert, he will accompany himself on acoustic guitar and he'll be backed by a trio of American musicians on keyboards, bass and drums/percussion. He will open the show with his first hit "Gonna Love You More," which was recorded by George Benson in the late 1970s and was a Gold record. Next he'll offer a tribute to Otis Redding by singing "Dock of the Bay."

"I'll do some of my songs and tributes, like to James Taylor and people I enjoyed in my lifetime," he said. "And 'Feelings,' or they will throw me out of the theater."

Joining him on one song will be his daughter, Tasha, 23, who will sing "God Bless the Child."

"And, I'll do a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim, the great composer who wrote songs like 'The Girl from Ipanema,'" he said. Albert will also sing "Father," a song he wrote for his own father, who died in 1975.

Proceeds raised will go to the Ayala Foundation USA for its Gearing-up Internet Literacy and Access for Students program, Ayala President Victoria P. Garchitorena said.

"We at Ayala Foundation USA are thrilled that a superstar like Morris Albert has taken an interest in [the program]," she said. "It is an ambitious program to put computer laboratories with Internet access in all 5,500 or so public high schools across the 7,100 islands in the Philippines in the next five years."

The literacy program is spearheaded by a social consortium that includes the national government, private-sector companies, nonprofits and the local governments, she said.

It also reaches out to the Filipino community to support their hometowns by giving its underprivileged youth the needed computer and Internet literacy skills to make them competitive when they enter the workforce, whether they stay in the Philippines or go abroad, she said.

Albert believes the program is vital because it helps youngsters get a stronger education and allows them to stay in touch with the world, he said.

"Anything with kids involved, I'm there," he said. "I really enjoy it. The point is that it brings education and computerization to schools."

blr-feelings.1.22-BPhotoInfoQG1TA62H20060726j2qpr3ncCredit: TAMMY ABBOTT The Leader Caption: (LA)Morris Albert, the international recording artist who wrote and performed the 1970s hit "Feelings," will be in concert Saturday.

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