Pride of Pakistan – Ahmed Rushdi: The Prince of Melody

Ahmed Rushi- greatest singer of Pakistan

Ahmed Rushdi is one of the greatest singers of South Asia. The titles “Prince of Melody” and “The Wizard of Vocals” (awaz ka jadugar) are a testament of his versatile singing abilities and immense talent.

Ahmed Rushdi was born in a religious family in Hyderabad; Deccan in pre partition India.Rushdi lost his father in infancy. Rushdi was blessed with an exceptional voice, natural talent and a strong liking for music. No one in his family was even remotely associated with music. His father’s friend noticing his fondness for music and his good voice, enrolled him in a local music academy where he was taught by M.A Rauf and Iqbal Quraishi; two renowned composers of that time. Rushdi sang his first song for an Indian movie Ibrat in 1952. In 1954, Rushdi migrated to Karachi Pakistan with his family and started participating in musical shows, variety programs and Radio Pakistan the most powerful medium of that time. Rushdi’s song “Bunder Road sey Kemari” for a children’s program was a hit and soon he became a household name. Offers started pouring from the film industry and Rushdi was now a busy playback singer as well.

Rushdi literally ruled over the music industry in the 60s and 70s. At that time there were other great singers as well but Rushdi had carved a special place for himself. Rushdi also was the first singer to introduce pop music to South Asia. His song “ko ko korena” composed by Sohail Rana and filmed on Waheed Murad set a new trend in the music industry of South Asia. Rushdi lent his voice to all the leading heroes of Pakistan film industry. His voice even suited the supporting actors and the comedians. He sang duets with all the leading female singers of Pakistan.

Rushdi never received any formal training in classical music but he had full command over notes especially high notes. He could capture all moods effectively; was comfortable with every genre of music; film songs, ghazals, qawwali.

On 11th April 1983, the great singer suffered from a massive heart attack and passed away. The government of Pakistan posthumously awarded him the Pride of Performance award in 2003.

Pop Singers of Pakistan

Vital Signs-pop group of PAKISTAN

Pakistan got its first taste of pop music in the late 60’s when Waheed Murad was seen swaying to the tunes of Ko Ko Korina sung by Ahmed Rushdi for the film Armaan. This song revolutionized the music scene in Pakistan as well as across the border.

Singers Alamgir and Mohammed Ali Shehki took pop music one step further in the late 70’s. Their songs were an instant hit and very popular among the younger generation.

In 1980, Nazia Hassan a teenage Pakistan born British became a house hold name with her very first song sung for an Indian movie. Her first album Disco Dewane sung along with her brother Zohaib Hassan enjoyed phenomenal success. Inspired by the Hassan siblings, a number of singers followed their footsteps some of them are Tehseen Javed, Saleem Javed and Hasan Jahangir. Hasan Jahangir’s “Hawa Hawa” was a super duper hit.

In the early 90’s, the band Vital Signs took the music scene by storm with their song “Dil dil Pakistan”. They were largely helped by their looks and video. Soon many bands such as Junoon, Awaz, and Strings etc joined the band wagon. Of all the bands, Stings still exist. Junoon introduced and popularized a new genre of music the “Sufi Rock”. Shehzad Roy, Ali Haider and Najam Shiraz are some individual singers of the 90’s worth mentioning.

The girls of Pakistan have also contributed to pop music. Besides Nazia Hasan other leading female singers are Hadiqa Kiyani and Fareha Pervaiz. Recently two girls from Peshawar have formed a band Zeb and Haniya. Their music is much appreciated in Pakistan as well as abroad.

TOP TEN POP SINGERS

1. Atif Aslam
2. Ali Zafar
3. Ali Azmat
4. Hadiqa Kiyani
5. Ali Haider
6. Princess Annie
7. Nazia Hasan
8. Junaid Jamshed
9. Shafqat Ammanat Ali
10. Fakhir