Songs That Changed Everything, Did I Make a Mistake Not Including Disco Dancer?

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”

18 thoughts on “Songs That Changed Everything, Did I Make a Mistake Not Including Disco Dancer?

  1. Well if you really want to talk about the song that changed everything then it should be Pyaar Kiya to Darna kya because it’s the first time we got color on screen!

    And I would also think that Lagan lagi Man ki Lagan from Paap was groundbreaking…the first time we heard Rahat and sparked the trend of Sufi romantic ballads

    Liked by 1 person

          • You still haven’t watched Paap? It’s ethereally sexy, beautiful cinematography, and Hindi remake of Harrison’s Ford’s Witness, which takes place in Amish country, instead of Ladakh, and is also about forbidden sex in a religiously conservative sect. See, John was making interesting content from the get go.


          • Witness is my problem with it! I really don’t like the original film, I’ve got some Amish in my family and I don’t like the way it kind of romanticizes the life style. And that distaste has kind of carried over into Paap.

            On Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 1:28 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Maybe its coming because I’m a fanboy, but something from ADHM Album should be here. Be it Channa Mereya or the title track itself.
    I will have to agree though that these found their way because of Tum hi ho and other songs in Aashiqui 2 album. But still.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mera zhoota hai Japani – Phir Bhi Dil hai Hindustani – from Raj Kapoor’s Shree 420 – First patriotic, still sung, kind of hero introduction song, went to many places including Russia.

    Jeena yaha marna yahan – from RK’s Joker – Kind of first love failure song 🙂

    Mere sapnonke rani – from Aradhana Or Roop Tera Mastana – Rajesh Khanna – RD Burman – Kishore Kumar – Teasing

    Kaanta Lagaa 2002 – for a flood of Remixes –

    Kajrare Kajrare 2005 – for having heroine dance to item songs – set the trend for songs like Beedi jalaile, Sheila ki jawani

    Murder song Kahoo na kaho – trend set for sensual – high pitch – Arabic/Sufi kind of songs

    90s Ashiqui film for monotanous songs of the 90s trend of Gulshan Kumar – Kumar Sanu – Anu Malik – Nadim-Sravan until revamped by Rahman & Shankar-Ehsan-Loy


  4. Another Farah song that was also in your other post – Chhaiyan Chhaiyan. It was one of those songs that had fans all over India and across generations. Between Gulzar’s lyrics, and Rahman’s music, it really changed the way songs were written, scored and choreographed.

    I would say that Ek Ladki ko Dekha (and that entire album) did actually change things. The lyrics to that song are so poetic and a far cry from the very mindless (and often double entendre-filled) songs from the 80s and early 90s. The songs from that movie definitely paved the way for the kind of soulful songs that people like Arijit Singh are known for today.


  5. I would include “aayega aanewala” from Mahal in 1949. It wasn’t Lata Mangeshkar’s first playback song but it was her first really, really big hit and established her as THE female voice of Hindi films forever after.

    I don’t think either “Pyar kiya to darna kya” or “Kajrare re” are seminal songs. I don’t exactly know when color was first used in Hindi films, but “pyar kiya to darna kya” certainly wasn’t it. “Aan”, a fully-color film came out in 1952 – eight years before “Mughal-E-Azam. Similarly, I don’t know the first instance of a HIndi film heroine doing an “item” number, but Ash in Kajrare re was far from the first.
    Offhand, I can remember Geeta Bali doing one in “Mujrim” in 1958.


    • Thank you! I was feeling bad because I didn’t have a playback singer option. Well, I guess Tum Hi Ho, but only that one.

      The item number history is so mushy, everyone wants to find a “first”, but to me it feels more cyclical. For a while heroines did their own songs and dancers, then item numbers got big, then it went back to heroines, and on and on.

      On Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 9:48 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  6. Delightful post and comments!

    Do you think it changed things, or was the pinnacle result of change, or was a one off?

    IMO it was like Right Here Right Now, a forebearer, and the landscape around it didn’t catch up for another 5 years or so.


    • I think you must be right about the 5 years in advance thing. Because I just did a double take when I saw the year of the song. 1971! I would have put it in 76, 77. 78 easily.


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