music of pakistan

A Musical Journey into the Past: Pop & Rock Music of Pakistan (3 of 6) – The 80s and the start of Music videos

The decade of the 1980s is especially known for an explosion of music genres and artists across the world. This sporadic mushrooming of the music industry was mainly due to the introduction of MTV (Music Television) in 1980. While the world was witnessing a revolution in music and art, the music of Pakistan changed. The 1980s saw several talents which lead the path of the future. These Pakistani artists were surely inspired by the waves of different genres of the time. It included the genres of Disco, Rock, and Heavy Metal as well as Pop. But we have to see which artists or themes in the era inspired the whole generation to break free from the past. But it was the concept of music videos that was the main catalyst for success.

Return of Pop with Disco

During the 80s, Pop music which was left behind in the 1970s came back with the help of Disco. This come back was due to artists such as Boney M, Abba, Madonna, and the king himself, Michael Jackson.

These artists and many one-hit wonders remained constant and their videos were shown on MTV regularly. Whereas, rock and heavy metal music was still a class of rebels. Bands such as Metallica were playing gigs to fill out arenas. But MTV had not heard of them.

Fanatic Rise of Heavy Metal Music

Thrash, from the US, and the NWOBHM (New wave of British heavy metal) were having cult followings. It was during this time that these heavy and extreme music genres developed a fanatic following.

But in the mainstream media, it was glam metal bands who reigned. These included acts such as Warrant, Motley Crue, Poison, and Def Leppard.

The entire decade would have been dedicated to the glam metal if it was not for Guns n Roses and Skid Row.

1987 and the Rise of Global Music
These heavier-sounding bands changed the scenario towards the end of the decade. However, things did not go so fast in Pakistan. The music of Pakistan was still taboo in society. Due to the conservative media policies, many acts did not make it to the limelight. But those who did make it, created a musical journey that reached its peak by 1987. This peak remained well into the 90s. The heavier-sounding style of Guns N Roses became a staple for rock artists around the world.

A late awakening in Pakistan

Although the Pakistani Pop and Rock industry had enjoyed success in the earlier decades of the 1960s and 1970s. But the 80s decade stalled that success. However, artists like Nazia and Zohaib did have some success in introducing Pakistan’s Urdu language version of Disco.

But by 1987 the regime’s policies softened and bands such as Vital Signs came out with the first hit single Dil Dil Pakistan.

Success factors and key milestones of 80s in the music of Pakistan
The success in the music of Pakistan was still owed to Pakistani Television as MTV was not on air. There was no internet or even blue tooth. But the majority of people listened to songs on their boom box which became popular at the time. Here at Sound Crush, we have Hyper Shock designed closer to the looks of the 80s boom box. It can be such a retro and nostalgic experience to listen to the music of the 80s on Hyper Shock.
Besides Pakistan Television, individuals such as Shoaib Mansoor played an important role in continuing Pop music in the country. Moreover, EMI company signed various artists to solidify pop and rock music. It signed artists such as Vital Signs, Strings, and Ali Haider.
But what got the momentum going was the indoor concert directed by Shoaib Mansoor at the PTV studios in 1989. It featured upcoming acts of that time such as Vital Signs, and Jupiters, as well as heartthrobs such as Nazia and Zohaib. It was called Music 89

In the same year, Karachi showcased an open-air concert that had a similar effect. It also featured the young rock bands of Pakistan like Barbarians and Final Cut.

The decade of 1980s was surely a new era for the music of Pakistan. It was a time when the beginnings of a golden age for music started. The pinnacle of success was to be seen in the next decade, which brought in more sounds and artists.  


A Musical Journey into the Past: Pop & Rock Music of Pakistan (2 of 6) – The loud and Bass crazy 70s era


A Musical Journey into the Past: Pop & Rock Music of Pakistan (4 of 6) – How Pakistani Music Peaked and Overcame Major Obstacles in the 90s

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