Top 15 Coke Studio songs of all time

Published: August 12, 2016
With season 9 around the corner, we look back at the biggest hits the show has belted out so far.

With season 9 around the corner, we look back at the biggest hits the show has belted out so far.

KARACHI: With the ninth edition of Coke Studio around the corner, The Express Tribune looks back at the biggest hits the show has belted out, over the years.

15. Zeb & Haniya – Laili Jaan

There’s hardly a Coke Studio song from this duo that did not click with the audiences. Season 6’s Laili Jaan is a Darri hit, originally done by Ahmed Zahir, that blurs boundaries with incredible ease.

14. Symt & Sanam Marvi – Koi Labda

Koi Labda from Season 5 is warm and extremely fulfilling. This is one collaboration from the show wherein everything fell perfectly in place.

13. Mai Dhai & Atif Aslam – Kadi Aao Ni

While there aren’t many songs from the Strings era that make it to our list; Kadi Aao Ni from Season 8 is one that does deserve a spot. Mai Dhai shines in all her glory as we see glimpses of the Atif Aslam of Jalpari.

12. Rostam Mirlashari – Laila O Laila

Laila O Laila was part of Season 6 that saw Rohail Hyatt bring in foreign musicians and eventually step down as the show’s producer. Not that we saw too many on the show, Laila O Laila was perhaps Coke Studio’s best rendition of a Balochi tune.

11. Ali Zafar – Yar Daddi

With this tribute to Ustad Muhammad Juman from Season 2, Ali Zafar completed a successful experiment with a very different singing style. The Flamenco chord progression is an absolute treat.

10. Sajjad Ali – Kirkir Kirkir

Pop icon Sajjad Ali made his Coke Studio debut in Season 4 and gave us his signature product – an all-out entertainer; the show had not exactly had an upbeat number to offer before this.

9. Mizraab – Kuch Hai

Kuch Hai is powerful, haunting and captivating. Season 4 showed the world why Faraz Anwar fans call him a guitar maestro.

8. Strings – Sar Kiyae

This Strings original is one of the best pop compositions to come out from Pakistan and is still as popular as it was in 1992. This Season 1 song is an early example of what Rohail Hyatt had set about to master.

7. Asif Hussain Samraat & Zoe Viccaji – Senraan Ra Baairya

He came. He mesmerised. He vanished. Asif Hussain Samraat’s Rajasthani thumri from Season 4 is like medication for anxiety. Coke Studio never saw better voice quality.

6. Atif Aslam and Qayaas – Charkha Nolakha

Qayaas were one of Pakistan’s most promising acts and Charkha Nolakha only reminds us what we have lost with their breakup. This ode to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Led Zeppelin from Season 5 is one of the show’s best-arranged songs.

5. Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi – Pyaar Naal

Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi graced Coke Studio in Season 4 and gave us a love song to remember. Jaffer Zaidi’s piano and accordion; Amir Azhar’s mandolin and Essakhelvi’s supplementary recital of a nazm stand out in this heartwarming number.

4. Noori & Saieen Zahoor – Aik Alif

This Season 2 song saw Noori delve into devotional music for the first time ever and come up with one of the most memorable songs from the show. Saieen Zahoor’s distinct tone, Ali Hamza’s banjo and Ali Noor’s impressive vocal range make this a sure-shot winner.

3. Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad – Kangna

Kangna, in Season 4, saw Coke Studio engage with authentic qawwals and qawwali for the first time. A composition in Raag Malkauns, Kangna is yet another achievement of the Rohail Hyatt era.

2. Javed Bashir – Aj Latha Naeeo

While Javed Bashir’s unmatched vocal prowess had already begun to gain attention long before this song came out, Season 2’s Aj Latha Naeeo announced his arrival and upped the ante of a show that was still establishing itself.

1. Noori – Saari Raat

Saari Raat from Season 2 is arguably the finest Coke Studio has ever produced. A textbook example of how fusion music can work wonders.

Choose your favourite Coke Studio song

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Talha Zafar
    Aug 12, 2016 - 4:04PM

    I think many great songs of coke studio have been inadvertently missed out such as:

    Mori Araj sunno by Tina Sani
    Dost by Abida Perveen
    Tum Naraaz Ho by Sajjad Ali
    Bewajeh by Nabeel Shaukat

    Should have been included, it was my opinion in terms of melody, sound quality and lyrics as well.Recommend

  • Kamran Hayder
    Aug 12, 2016 - 4:34PM

    How dare can you ignore Chap Tilak Sab Cheen Li by Abida and Rahat?Recommend

  • Dilpazeer
    Aug 12, 2016 - 4:57PM

    Where is Atif’s Bhar do Jholi, Arif/Meesha’s Jugni, Sajjad Ali’s Tum Naraz?Recommend

  • SH
    Aug 12, 2016 - 5:44PM

    This list is impossible to combine :)Recommend

  • Mudasser
    Aug 12, 2016 - 5:55PM

    Notable songs missing here: Arif Lohar & Meesha Shafi – Jungni; Ali Azmat & Rahat – Garaj Baras; Noori & Saeen Zahoor – Aik Alif; Jimmy Khan – Nadya Par; Bilal Khan – Lamha; Sindhi Folk – Peray Pawandi Saan; Atif Aslam – Kinara & Jal Pari, Josh & Shafqat Amanat – Jogi; Zoheb Hasan – Dheeray DheerayRecommend

  • Dr. Fauzan Hashmi
    Aug 12, 2016 - 7:26PM

    Is this the list of the best songs or worst songs?? My favourite is the very first song GARAJ BARAS by ali azmat and rahat, others include zara chehra by zohaib hasan, Abida parveen all songs, Shafqat Amanat ali and josh songs etc.Recommend

  • Bushra Joyo
    Aug 12, 2016 - 7:43PM

    Seriously this is the worst list you guys can come up with. Where is Umran Lageyan? Chap Tilak and literally many more.. Paimona? Recommend

  • Ajmal Paharhi
    Aug 12, 2016 - 8:10PM

    Ajab khel – Shafqat Amanat AliRecommend

  • An Indian fan
    Aug 12, 2016 - 9:02PM

    Why not Chhap Tilak of Rahat and Abida?
    Why not Jugni of Misha Shafi and Arif Lohar?
    Why not Meri araj suno by Tina Sani?Recommend

  • Abdul Raheem
    Aug 12, 2016 - 9:45PM

    Kandyaari Dhol Geet, Bohemia and Chakwal GroupRecommend

  • Ali
    Aug 12, 2016 - 10:25PM

    Guys its just a music show that rehashes old n folk songs..stop over analyzing it and linking it patriotism n what not…just take these as yet another song..jeezRecommend

  • BrainBro
    Aug 13, 2016 - 5:55AM

    Noori has the capability to go global and collaborate with all the top stars in the US, but they need an agency that can take them to that level.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Aug 13, 2016 - 7:44AM

    I don’t know why Hor vi Nevan Hor by Noori is such an underrated song! It is one of the masterpieces of Coke Studio and Rohail!Recommend

  • naeem zaidi
    Aug 13, 2016 - 3:27PM

    I think there are so many great songs are left behind.what is the criteria selecting these songs? i think rather let the people to make their on list. Recommend

  • Disappointed Reader
    Aug 15, 2016 - 2:05AM

    It’s extremely sad to see people with no music background, knowledge or research writing album reviews and now compiling such lists.

    You should have posted it as ‘ABC’s favourite 15 from Coke studio. No one should have any objection on your personal liking but this is not just right. Stop bringing shame and a bad name to tribune as well..

    Extremely disappointed to read this! I’d request the tribune’s editor to kindly consult some professional musicians(not singers only) and marketing people before publishing such stuff. It’s an insult for the dying Pakistani music industry.Recommend

  • Babar Ali
    Aug 15, 2016 - 2:50AM

    For me the number one was “Garaj Baras” by ali azmat and rahat. what an amazing song it wasRecommend

  • Babar Ali
    Aug 15, 2016 - 12:04PM

    The onus is now on Express Tribune to arrange a poll with all the coke studio songs and let the public choose which are the top 15 of all time! Recommend

  • Deepak
    Aug 18, 2016 - 3:30PM

    For me, Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad’s “Rang” remains a top class masterpiece.Recommend

  • Azhar Usmani
    Aug 18, 2016 - 3:55PM

    To put mildly, I’m shocked not to find “Garaj Baras” in this list. The song was the very reason people fell in love with these sessions. It was raw yet with a sense of completion that set the benchmark for others. Definitely, a faulty list if termed as “Top 15 CS songs of All Time.”Recommend

  • Eden
    Aug 18, 2016 - 7:47PM

    Where’s Umran langiyan?Recommend

  • Ali
    Sep 19, 2016 - 4:08PM

    Not even a single positive comment (to which i have many aspects to add but i wont). Still if anyone writes Top 15 Coke Studio songs of all time in Google, he will come to this article !!!
    Tribune please :)Recommend

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