Another “Emily thinks deeply about songs” inspired post! She was talking about the surprise hits, the ones from new composers or singers or just different genres. And that made me think about those songs that changed everything.
Oh, this is a gooooooooood playlist! These are the songs that changed everything, the ones that you knew when you watched them that they were something new and different, the ones that you got obsessed over until you couldn’t stop playing them again and again and again.
I’m gonna start slow and build. “Right Here Right Now”! Which was both one of the first major hit hip-hop songs, and the first promotional video/end credits special. And, it goes without saying, really really good.
That was a Farah song that broke ground, let’s look at the very first Farah song that broke new ground. She was working as an assistant to her uncle and he let her do this one song. She wanted to do it slow motion, but wanted the lips to match the song. So she played the record at double speed and then slowed down the film to normal. Brilliant! And that is how Farah became the top song choreographer. “Pehla Nasha”
Speaking of first songs, first Badshah song in Hindi film!!!! It’s fun, it’s kooky, and it was an immediate hit far beyond the film it was in. Meaning Badshah was immediately the hottest new composer around. “Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai”
This is Pritam, but this is more important for being the big break through of Arijit Singh as a singer. He went from a miscellaneous hard working singer/arranger to an international celebrity with one song. “Tum Hi Ho”
Speaking of going from zero to hero with one song, the Rise of Hrithik! Can we even call it a rise if it was one song from one movie that went him from being a total unknown to being the 5th most famous man in India? Anyway, “Ek Pal Ka Jeena”.
Speaking of dancers arriving, there was an ex-biology student who had been in a couple of minor films that didn’t go anywhere. Here newest movie had this really catchy song, but the lyricist didn’t even care enough to write real lyrics beyond “one two three four”. And then they filmed the thing and released the movie and the World Changed. “Ek Do Teen”
Speaking of little songs that changed the world, remember when a Tamil song kris-krossed India and the world, before youtube even, because it was just so different! “Urvashi Urvashi”
I’m cheating a little bit. This was the first big hit for Vishal-Shekhar, and they are very important composers and all of that. It’s also a new sound, a sort of simple club band sound instead of the lush orchestral effect. But mostly, I really like it! “Tu Aashiqui Hai”
This is an odd song, one that could have changed things but ended up not. RD Burman came out of retirement to bring in a lovely old-fashioned lyrical melodic soundtrack, one that sounded like nothing else he had done before and like nothing else anyone was doing at the time. And then RD died so it didn’t go anywhere after all. But it could have! “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha”
And let us go back in time to when RD first arrived! Invited us to “come come” to a new era of electronic rock enfused and still Indian music. “Aaja Aaja Mein Hoon Pyar Tera”
Speaking of new composers who would change everything, 2 years before Burman mad his last film, Rahman made his first. And with one soundtrack, declared to the world that there was a new king of Indian film music, crossed over all of India and conquered it effortlessly. “Roja Jaaneman”
Obviously I had to build to RD and Rahman, but the real ending, the true most important changing everything song, is a little night club number from Howrah Bridge, “Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu”, that brought us Helen, greatest of all Indian film dancers, and more influential to film than any composer.
Okay, what am I missing? Just to get you started, here are some songs I considered and rejected as not important enough: “Aati Kya Khandala”, “Disco Dancer”, “Aap Jaise Koi”, Dhoom Machale”, “Awara Hoon”