From the famous ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ patriotic song to ‘Mera Dil Badalte’ hymn, Junaid Ahmed continues to rule our hearts. Today marks the 56th birthday anniversary of the singer-turned-preacher.
Junaid Jamshed gained nationwide prominence and recognition as a rockstar but drifted away from music later in his life when he joined the Tableeghi Jamaat proselytizing group. He had a huge following among people from different spheres of life but passed away tragically in an air crash.
Early life and Music Career
Junaid Jamshed was born in Karachi. His father was a captain in the Pakistan Air Force from Nowshera. Jamshed wanted to join the air force to become a fighter pilot but was unable due to his weak eyesight.
He joined the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore and majored in mechanical engineering graduating in 1990. However, he did not start a career and joined the music industry. He met Rohail Hyatt and Shahzad Hasan (Shahi) and joined as their lead singer in ‘Vital Signs’ band.
They began performing in different parts of the country after securing a place in the underground music industry in Islamabad and Lahore. The band was approached by music officials of PTV and awarded a record deal.
During this time, the band caught the attention of record producer and broadcaster Shoaib Mansoor who worked on their first album. The first album, Vital Signs 1, was released nationwide and aired on PTV. Their debut hit singles, “Dil Dil Pakistan” and “Tum Mil Gaye” were released on 14th August 1987, giving them instant fame and prominence.
Both songs were big commercial hits and garnered high critical acclaim. The songs were an instant hit and quickly gained huge nationwide success. Junaid wanted to treat music as a hobby but Rohail and Shahzad soon managed to convince him otherwise.
In 1991, the band released their second album, Vital Signs 2, and made its first international tour in the United States. n 1993, the band got together with Shoaib Mansoor once again and released their third album, Aitebar.
In early 1995, the band released its fourth and last album, Hum Tum. By early 1996, various issues emerged between the members of the band and split in 1998 after which Jamshed began a solo career.
Jamshed released his first solo album in 1994. After departing from Vital Signs in 1998, Jamshed released the second solo album, “Us Rah Par” (On that way) in 1999 becoming their fastest selling album.
In 2000, Jamshed released his third album, “The Best of Junaid Jamshed”, which contained remixes of some of the hit singles of the Vital Signs era. His fourth and last solo album, “Dil Ki Baat”, was released in 2001, which became highly successful and gained public and media attention.
In 2003, “Dil Dil Pakistan” was ranked third among the top 10 most popular songs in the world in a poll conducted by BBC World Service. Around 7,000 songs were selected and people from 155 countries voted in the poll.
Drift from music
In 2001, Jamshed disappeared from public eye and avoided media attention. His former bandmates saw him struggling to transition from one world to another as he became distant from them.
After the 9/11 attacks, Hyatt and Jamshed’s foreign tours struggled over intense scrutiny and terrorism. Jamshed filed for bankruptcy and it was speculated that he has distanced himself from music.
In 2004, Jamshed officially renounced music and said he has devoted his life to Islam after associating himself with the Tableegi Jamaat. He started reciting hymns and also made several TV appearances.
Jamshed was in Chitral along with his second wife Nayha for a Tableeghi Jamaat mission. On 7th December 2016, the two were returning to Islamabad their aircraft crashed near Havelian, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killing all on board.
Jamshed was en route to deliver the Friday sermon at the Parliament House mosque. He was survived by his first wife, three sons and a daughter. His funeral prayers offered in Karachi by Maulana Tariq Jamil, who strongly influenced Junaid Jamshed as a mentor and spiritual guide.