The Birth of Pop Music in Pakistan: Ahmad Rushdi, Waheed Murad and Ko Ko Korina

Posted on January 3, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Music, People
22 Comments
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Adil Najam


At various points and during various discussions on ATP readers have debated just when ‘pop music’ arrived in Pakistan. Some have suggested Vital Signs as the beginning, others have argued that the first step was from Nazia and Zohaib Hassan, and yet others take it further back to Alamgir and Mohammad Ali Shehki. Each, of course, was an icon of their time and shaped the music that was to follow them.

For me, however, the birth of ‘popular pop’ came with Ahmad Rushdi; especially when he teamed up with Waheed Murad. We have argued here that Waheed Murad might have been the very first ‘heart throb’ hero of Pakistan. Let me now suggest that Ahmad Rushdie defined ‘kool’ as much as Waheed Murad and that Ahmad Rushdie was the first real Pop Superstar of Pakistan.

More than that Co Co Corina – or is it Ko Ko Korina – is the definitive and defining Pakistani Pop song. Not only was it the first superhit pop song but it remains an icon for its generation and for Pakistani pop music in general.

I guess it should be clear by now that I really like this song. Take a look and listen; and hear and see why.

Waheed Murad, as you can see, is in his ‘Elvis Presley of Pakistan’ mode here. For another glimpse of that mood see the video in our previous post on Waheed Murad.

By way of a parting note, I should add that even though I have expressed my own bias against what I have called the ‘hilna jullna’ style of singing I am not only not averse to but am actually partial to a good ‘performance’, as long as the singing is not compromised by the ‘hilna julna’. This video is not just nostalgic but also meets that test of fun performance combined with good singing.

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22 responses to “The Birth of Pop Music in Pakistan: Ahmad Rushdi, Waheed Murad and Ko Ko Korina”

  1. Shakeel Anwar says:

    Some time earlier, I had heard in a tv programme, discussing about the song Ko Ko Korina, that this was an inspiration from a Spanish song (I don’t know the name of song), and Waheed Murad had asked Sohail Rana to compose a song on that for his film ‘Armaan’. However, I have been trying to find out the Spanish song, but I couldn’t yet. If this is true, and someone has any clue for that Spanish version, please give the reference or song’s name.

  2. Emmenay says:

    One more fact I forgot to mention in my previous comment is: Sohail Rana not only introduced Ahmed Rushdie as a singer in his own right and Waheed Murad as THE actor to sing Rushdie on the cinema screen, he is also the first teacher of Nazia Hasan, Zoheb Hasan, Fatima Jaffrey, Afshan and a host of other youngsters who later on went ahead to become popular singers. SO CREDIT MUST BE GIVEN TO SOHAIL RANA BECAUSE IT WAS HE WHO THROUGH HIS MUSICAL TV PROGRAMMES FOR CHILDREN introduced them to the ABC of modern singing.

  3. Emmenay says:

    Adil is right. Ahmed Rushdie is the first singer who sang as fast a number as Co-Co-Corina which fortunately was filmised on Waheed Murad. Composed by Sohail Rana Ahmed Rushdie worked his vocal magic on the song while Waheed Murad embellished it with his splendid visual performance…the first of its kind on the Pakistan silverscreen.
    However, even the word POP was not even in vogue in this part of the world at that time, as very few people were familiar with the Beatles or the likes of Tom Jones either.
    But Rushdie could never have performed the song on any stage the way Waheed Murad did…so credit goes to Sohail Rana first then to Waheed Murad for making Rushdie so popular.

  4. mansoor tirmizi says:

    once i have read in thenews newspaper that ko ko korina was the first ever urdu pop song. if this is true, and i think it is, then ahmad rushdi was certainly the first pop urdu singer. this is true also because of his fast songs. waheed murad’s acting actually polished it. why waheed murad was so popular? off course just because his “pop acting”. it was his “pop acting” on ahmad rushdi’s “pop songs” that brought them boht into fame.
    this is what i get the conclusion.

  5. zahida says:

    I just want to say no one mention waheed murad religion and also why some people thing that he made a suicide

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