1974 AD, who have been rocking the Nepali music scene for the past 26 years, are one of the greatest bands, if not the greatest, of all time. Founded by Nirakar Yakthumba and Phiroj Syangden with Bhanu A (who later left the band) in the early ’90s, the band had Adrian Pradhan, Sanjay Shrestha, Manoj KC, and Manose Singh as core members later.
The popularity of the band during their best days was so high that they had one of the biggest concerts held at Dasharath Stadium in 2002, titled Rock Yatra, with estimated 60,000 attendees.
The band went through a rough patch when Phiroj Syangden left the band in 2012 and later by Adrian Pradhan in 2015. The remaining members sought to continue the band by adding talented new members such as singer Rohit John Chettri, pianist Prajwal Mukhiya, and a new horn section with Pratik Baniya in trombone and Jacko Wacko in trumpet. Branding the move as #thenewlineup, the band released their ninth album Hazaar Sapana in 2016.
The band got reunited with the original members in 2019 after a brief ‘break’ for 4 years and have released their tenth studio album, Nirantarta in November 2019, with songs such as Saani ko (rerecorded with Phiroj Syangden), Maya bisaune Chautari and Manche ko Jeewan getting a positive critical appraisal from critics and fans alike.
To celebrate the band’s successful musical career and the joy of their reunion as fans, here you have the 13 best songs of this renowned band.
We start our list with Sakdina, a fusion of the eastern and western music voiced by Adrian Pradhan from their album Pinjada Ko Suga (2008). The song, with progressive music and strong lyrics that expresses guilt, depression, and lamentation, is a lesser-known song in comparison to others we have listed today. However, we believe this is one of the best songs of the band.
12. Pinjada Ko Suga
The title track of the album Pinjada Ko Suga is a rock song with a cult following, as many emerging musical talents cover this in musical shows in schools and colleges even today. The track has adapted the poem of Lekhnath Paudyal as lyrics, and with heavy riffs and heavier flute and guitar solos. It is one of the best hard rock songs of Nepal.
11. Chaubandi Choli
The first of the folk-oriented songs we have listed, Chaubandi Choli, is included in the album Samjhi Baschu. It has beautiful music accompanied by exquisite vocals of Phiroj Syangden, and it is something you would like to dance to when played.
10. Pahilo Junima
If you are a millennial and used to watch television shows such as Image Channel’s Top of the Pops, Pahilo Junima from the album Satabdi might be the first song that you might have heard of this legendary band. The song is a beautiful musical masterpiece with powerful vocals of Adrian Pradhan.
The one and only instrumental song in our list is Crossings from their album Pinjada Ko Suga. The song, a fusion of rock and eastern classical traditions, is beautifully composed and shows the versatility of the band. While every band member plays their instruments very exquisitely, Manose Singh’s flute solos and Nirakar Yakthumba’s bass deserve special praise.
8. Yo mann ta mero Nepali ho
The song Yo Mann ta mero Nepali ho from the album Limited Edition is a powerful rendition of patriotism and is another cult classic. Composed and penned by Mapan Bhusal, this song has an energy that makes you love Nepal more, and the song is one of the unofficial anthems of Nepal.
7. Hidda Hiddai
Like Pahilo Junima, Hidda Hiddai might be another favourite song of 1974 AD you have grown up listening to as an early or late teenager. Well-composed by the band in every front and well-sung by Adrian, the song is still one of the best to listen to if one has a heartbreak.
Placing this song in the sixth place of our list might definitely raise some eyebrows as many of our readers might believe this is the best song of 1974 AD. Simple and beautiful, the song is definitely one of the first songs which would be sung in campfires or friendly gatherings. The elegant voice of Phiroj and a soothing harmony by Adrian not only reflects the amazing chemistry of the duo but also how the band overall complement each other.
Mayalule, one of the earliest hits of 1974 AD, is a different blend as the band has stylised it into country music and it certainly defines the versatility of the band. And, it certainly paved the way for the legends in the making during its release.
As a tribute to King Birendra and his family, who were assassinated in the 2001 Royal Massacre, Sambodhan is an emotional song. And it hit (and still hits) the core of the heart of the people with beautiful lyrics and music. The very well-received song and the video reflects on an epitome of what the ruler was among the people.
3. Chyangba and the Bloody revolution
Bluesy bass intro played by Nirakar Yakthumba (we have not given him enough credit when he is the glue that holds the band, but that is the story of the life of bassists), Chyangba and the Bloody Revolution is a revolutionary song and deservedly gets the third spot on our list. With Phiroj’s powerful storytelling of Chyangba through his voice followed by Adrian’s social commentary (beautiful albeit two lines), the song includes one of the best lyrics the band has ever penned.
2. Samjhi Baschu
Second on our list is a gem in the form of the title track of the album Samjhi Baschu. The song is another masterpiece in which the band have portrayed their musical prowess. With an earnest chord progression, compelling lyrics, enthralling guitar, and flute solos, the song is highly regarded as the best work of the band. And, we are simply out of adjectives to describe how beautifully Phiroj and Adrian has sung their parts.
1. Gurasai Fulyo Banaima
You had seen this coming, didn’t you? Gurasai Fulyo is such a happy song, and, rooted in the folks, the song makes you feel like dancing. The song is a composite of a beautiful bass from Nirakar synchronising with guitar harmony and folk percussions and drums and beautifully played flute by Manose Singh. Then, there are the guitar solos, in which Manoj KC and Phiroj complement each other. The song is one of the finest songs the Nepali music scene has ever produced.
Although these songs did not make our top thirteen lists, these songs definitely deserve a shout out.