Why the songs of 60s and 70s still popular?

*Sudhirendar Sharma

Why retro music has retained its mass following over what is called the millennial music? Why with changing times the music of yore has endured? While individual choice and taste could be one reason, it is the pure magic that decades after these songs were composed there has not been any decline in their popularity. The songs of 60s and 70s top the charts, and there is not any let down either.

It is hard to find a credible answer to this riddle, if at all there is one. One way of getting closer to finding an answer may rest in understanding how indeed retro music was created, and what went into making the lyrics retain their everlasting impact. 

I am reminded of legendary poet Sahir Ludhianvi who argued with both maestro SD Burman and nightingale Lara Mangeshkar that it is his poetry that did most of the trick, with SD’s music and Lata’s voice being on the periphery. Arrogance! Sure, but Sahir lived up to his statement by working with neither of the great stalwarts for a significant part of his career. He had promoted Hemlata in place of Lata for a long time. 

The point I am drawing home is that in saying what he said Sahir was only hinting at the power of his poetic creation. The words came straight from the heart, even when lyrics were written to match the situation on the screen. My sense is that the singer was chosen on the merit of how s/he will emote the words which were then enhanced by the music. All three had to work in unison to create an everlasting impact. They were not doing a ‘task’ but pooling their creative energies to ‘co-create’ something that would last for eternity. 

You might say that that is being done even today. Indeed, but the level of intensity is perhaps missing. The trouble is that three constituents of a musical composition are created separately, and then merged together. The intensity of engagement is somehow limited. Gone are the days when singers would sing with musicians playing it live in the studio. Today, It is a cost-cutting business venture where creativity takes a back seat. You may differ with me but that is my assessment. Let me cite an example. 

Jalees Sherwani has written lyrics of a lovely song for the film दबंग. The lyrics are sweet but the entire package has not lasted beyond its time. Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal have rendered the lyrics साँची-साँची तेरी नज़रें एक दर्पण,  दे दे मन की ये ख़बरें एक पल छिन to Sajid-Wajid composition.

Whether the poet wrote for a situation or did the lyrics emerge from his heart may be hard to ascertain, but the overall composition misses out on something. Without the cinematic support one may not necessarily connect with it. I suspect if we will remember it unless told so.

You will agree that poets and composers of yesteryears put their heart and soul into their works. For them, their songs were more a creative venture than a business proposition. I have learnt that the iconic song प्यार किया तो डरना क्या was rewritten some 95 times before finally composed by Naushad. It must have tested patience of lyricist Shakeel Badayuni. Rest as they say is history. With this I leave it to you to take a call on the question that I started with while listening to this song from ‘Dabang’.     https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qa3MAAbuwlk

*Sudhirendar Sharma is a environmental journalist and a development professional. His interest in music is related to his childhood that lay immersed in musical memories.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here