Pakistani music has evolved through the decades and each of these has been defined by different Artists and Musicians. Let’s do a throwback to Pakistani music and glimpse in to what is happening now and then.
Let’s start with some super hits and earlier times of the Pakistani music industry.
- 1960’s Ko Ko Korina Times:
Golden times of Pakistan! Music in the 60’s took a whole new turn around the globe; when the west was cherishing the amazing music of The Beatles, we had our Ko Ko Korina artist, Ahmed Rushdi from the east. He was the first Pakistani disco star who earned fame in very little time; that song is still a hit dancing number of Pakistani music. The 60’s was the time when the only music being produced was for the movies. Madam Noor Jahan as well as Runa Laila joined Ahmed Rushdi and all three became hit names of that time. Ahmed Rushdi scored one of his biggest hits, ‘Dil Koh Jalana’ in 1975 (for the film ‘Mohabbat Zindagi Hai’). Famous actor, Waheed Murad lip-synched the song in the film Armaan.
- 1970’s Street Dance Era:
As in the 60s, in the 70s too, most of the music being produced was for the movie industry. Most of the singers of that time were play back singers in films. During this decade, street dance music and pop rock music was being introduced and Runa Laila performing with Ahmed Rushdi became the pop specialists of the 70s. Alamgir, a 21 year old hippie musician started off singing some pop music tracks by holding his acoustic guitar and joined the pop music club. Alamgir also produced a song for Pakistan Television ‘Daikha Na Tha’ on PTV in 1977, which became the hit pop song of that time. Later Muhammad Ali Sheikhi gained fame with his raspoy voice and unique style. Later in the 1970s, Mehdi Hassan and Nayyara Noor also started with play back singing for movies.
- 1980’s Disco Dewane Era:
The best era of the Pakistani music industry started with the beginning of the 198o’s when Nazia Hassan and her brother Zoheb Hassan revolutionized the pop music industry in the country. Their songs “Disco Diwane” and “Dum Dum Dee Dee” rocked the whole country and Nazia Hassan became the undisputed queen of disco music in Pakistan. Her song “Aap Jaisa Koi” was also a massive hit, not only inside Pakistan, but also across the border. In the end of the 80s and start of the 90s another young, passionate musician started his career with a patriotic number “Dil Dil Pakistan”. The song and band named “Vital Signs” with front man Junaid Jamshaid became Superstars and went on to produce amazing pop songs and spearheaded a new era of Pakistani pop music.
- 1990’s Junoon to Awaz Era:
The 90s was another hit era of Pakistani music with the band Junoon belting out amazing sufi rock music. Their music inspired many other rock bands. The 90s was also the era when legendary Qawwal artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan gained worldwide recognition with his mystical sufi qawalis. Awaz band lead vocalists Fakhir and Haroon released “ Ay Jawan Ay Jawan”, Saleem Javaid came up with “ Jugni”, Ali Haider gave us a memorable track of “Purani Jeans” and then Billo came, yes Abrar ul Haq produced the hit Punjabi “Billo”, another pop rock band Strings also jumped in; Fasial Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood released their all-time famous track “Duurr” and also became heartthrobs of the Pakistani music industry. Later female musicians jumped in to the music industry and produced wonderful tracks. Hadiqa Kayani with the famous track “Dupatta” and Fareeha Parvaiz’s “Patang Baz Sajna Say” were very famous tracks of the time.
- 21st Cenutury EP’s Era in Pakistan:
In the early 2000s, the Pakistani music industry transformed into a new phase of music where rock metal was introduced to the Pakistani audience. EP, a music band started their journey with future Superstars in the making like Fawad Khan, Xulfi and Ahmed Ali Butt. Ali Zafar, a young boy from Lahore released “Channo” and Amir Zaki added some beautiful numbers like “Maira Pyaar”. Atif Aslam on the lead vocals and Gohar Mumtaz on the guitars launched their band with the name of “Jal”. The era of Pakistani musicians becoming global icons had also started with the latest generation of stars embracing global trends and technology.
- Break through from 2005 to 2006:
When EP and Aaroh were the talk of the town, another pop rock band “Call” also started their music journey. Numerous bands were formed and the era of mega concerts, brand ambassadors, etc also took off.
- 2010-2018- Era of Fusion and TV Shows:
Later in 2010 different brands started talent hunt shows like Nescafe Basement, Coke Studio and Pepsi Battle of the Bands, where young artists from all over the country, new and old sensations of the music industry reunited and produced a fusion various genres and styles of music. During these years, Coke Studio became a global phenomenon introducing emerging Artists and experimenting with variations in music. Coke Studio gave a chance to young musicians to work with senior stars and this collaboration became so successful that more than 10 seasons have been released. Sara Haider, Aima Baig, Sahir Ali Bagga, Jimmy Khan, Zaib Bangash, Ali Sethi, Mohsin Ali Abbas were some of the new artists whose careers were launched by Coke Studio.
Later Pepsi Battle of the Bands was introduced by Pepsi. Atif Aslam, Fawad Khan, Farooq of EP were the Judges of the show and they selected young emerging bands like Kashmir, Badnaam, Roots, etc. In all these years, Pakistani music also progressed into different music genres and different playback artists released their solo tracks. Some indie artists also jumped in and produced creative, innovative albums. Mooro, Ali Gul Pir and Faris Shafi also produced rap songs on social issues and gained fame from the public. Currently, music in Pakistan is struggling after the golden era of the 90s. Musicians are struggling to maintain their career in music as its not giving them enough to earn a living. Technology and free streaming, along with less Corporate sponsorship is taking a toll and limiting platforms for Artists to perform.
“Music was created to tell the truth about life…”