The greatest music albums from classic Bollywood have been chosen. Which songs made the list of Hindi films’s top 30?
Welcome to the greatest music of classic Bollywood! We at Mr. and Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited! have compiled our ultimate list of the top 30 best classic Bollywood film soundtracks of all-time. Music is the very soul of classic Bollywood, a legacy of beauty and style that once lit the world. These soundtracks showcase the most talented artists of Bollywood and are as diverse and transformative as the films to which they lent their magic. Long after the cinema lights fade, this music remains in the air, haunting us with desire, sustaining us through tragedy, and enchanting our daily experiences in the world.
Soundtracks of all Hindi films released between the years of 1945 to 1985 were considered and ranked based on the merit of lyrics, musical composition and complexity, historical and cultural value, vocal performance, and accomplishments of the soundtrack elements as an ensemble. Topping our list are composers Sachin Dev Burman, Rahul Dev Burman, Naushad, and the duo Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal (often credited as Shankar-Jaikishen) whose works both defined and reinvented Bollywood. Like our enormously popular list of the Top 30 Greatest Classic Bollywood Films of All Time, these soundtracks embrace the unexpected.
The advent of music in Bollywood binds the stormy history of a shackled India emerging from depression and war with the golden age of Hollywood musical film. Many believe that films with de rigeur musical numbers is a unique hallmark of Hindi cinema. However, the early “talkie” pictures of India such as Alam Ara (1931) were heavily influenced by the popular western films like The Jazz Singer (1927) and Showboat (1929) in which the new sound technology instantly propelled musical film as the most profitable genre. Hollywood directors like Busby Berkeley whose signature spectacle was the mass ornament and nimble-footed singer-dancers like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers helped contribute to the hundreds and hundreds of musical films cherished by the western world during the 1930s-1950s. The then universal convention of five to seven musical numbers peppering a film was easily embraced and adapted by Hindi movie directors who introduced Hindustani musical traditions to their work. Playback singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and Asha Bhonsle were as celebrated as the actors for whom they lent their voices. Often before a film was released, a Bollywood movie’s soundtrack was played repeatedly on the radio, reaching the hearts of millions across the country who may not have afforded the luxury to see the actual film in theatres.
While Hollywood eventually diverged from the musical film genre by the late 1960s, India was awakening to its own golden era of film in which music dominated the sensory milieu. Perhaps it was the escapism of music with its perfect harmonies and piercing poetry that touched the newly freed country still finding its identity. From solemn hymns of the countryside to feverish cabarets of city nightlife, from extravagant orchestras to solitary sitar solos, and from singers whose voices seem to descend from heaven, these soundtracks unleashed new eras of possibility and romance. The music of classic Bollywood will change you forever. For a few fleeting minutes, the ideals you dreamed of are made real.
Take this journey with us through the best music albums of yesteryear Hindi cinema. This music the way is was meant to be. This is classic Bollywood.
The Top 30 Best Classic Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time:
Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad, 1971
- Chalte Chalte – Lata Mangeshkar
- Taare Rahiyo – Lata Mangeshkar
- Teer-e Nazar – Lata Mangeshkar
- Chalo Dildar Chalo – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Inhi Logon Ne – Lata Mangeshkar
- Mausam Hai Aashiqana – Lata Mangeshkar
- Title Music/Alap – Lata Mangeshkar
S.D. Burman, 1965
- Din Dhal Jaaye – Mohammed Rafi
- Aaj Phir Jeene Ki – Lata Mangeshkar
- Piya Tose – Lata Mangeshkar
- Tere Mere Sapne – Mohammed Rafi
- Gaata Rahe Mera Dil – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya – Mohammed Rafi
- Saiyan Beiman – Lata Mangeshkar
- Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat – Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum
- Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya – Lata Mangeshkar
- Mohe Pangat Pe – Lata Mangeshkar
- Mohabbat Ki Jhooti Kahani – Lata Mangeshkar
- Aye Mohabbat Zindabad – Mohammed Rafi
- Prem Jogan Ban Ke – Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
- Yeh Dil Ki Lagi – Lata Mangeshkar
- Title Music
Hemant Kumar, 1954
- Man Dole Mera – Lata Mangeshkar
- Jadugar Saiyan – Lata Mangeshkar
- Tere Dwar Khada Ek Jogi – Hemant Kumar
- Mera Dil Yeh Pukare Aaja – Lata Mangeshkar
- Sun Ri Sakhi – Lata Mangeshkar
- Yaad Rakhna Pyar Ki Nishani – Asha Bhonsle and Hemant Kumar
S.D. Burman, 1969
- Roop Tera Mastana – Kishore Kumar
- Mere Sapnon Ki Rani – Kishore Kumar
- Kora Kaagaz Tha – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
- Gunguna Rahe Hai Bhanware – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Baghon Mein Bahar Hai – Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
- Saphal Hogi Teri Aradhana – S.D. Burman
6. Teesri Manzil
R.D. Burman, 1966
- Aaja Aaja – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Deewana Mujhsa Nahin – Mohammed Rafi
- O Haseena Zulfonwali – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- O Mere Sona Re – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Tumne Mujhe Dekha – Mohammed Rafi
Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1949
- Hawa Mein Udta Jaye – Lata Mangeshkar
- Chhod Gaye Balam – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
- Jiya Beqarar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
- Mujhe Kisise Pyar – Lata Mangeshkar
- Patli Kamar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
C. Ramachandra, 1953
- Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
- O Zindagi Ke Denewale – Hemant Kumar
- O Aasmanwale – Lata Mangeshkar
- Jaag Dard-e-Ishq – Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar
- Mohabbat Aisi Dhadhkan Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
- Mujhse Mat Pooch – Lata Mangeshkar
- Aaja Ab To Aaja – Lata Mangeshkar
9. Kati Patang
R.D. Burman, 1970
- Jis Gali Mein – Mukesh
- Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kishore Kumar
- Na Koi Umang Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
- Yeh Shaam Mastani – Kishore Kumar
- Pyaar Diwanaa Hota Hai – Kishore Kumar
- Aaj Na Chhodenge – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
10. Chori Chori
Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956
- Panchi Banoon Udti – Lata Mangeshkar
- Aaja Sanam – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
- Jahan Main Jaati Hoon – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
- Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
- Rasik Balma – Lata Mangeshkar
- Man Bhavan Ke Ghar – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle
11. Taj Mahal
- Jo Wada Kiya Woh – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Jo Baat Tujh Mein Hai – Mohammed Rafi
- Jurm-e Ulfat Pe – Lata Mangeshkar
- Paaon Choo Lene Do – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Chandi Ka Badan – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
12. Hum Dono
- Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Allah Tero Naam – Lata Mangeshkar
- Kabhi Khud Pe – Mohammed Rafi
- Main Zindagi Ka Saath – Mohammed Rafi
- Prabhu Tero Naam – Lata Mangeshkar
13. Jewel Thief
S.D. Burman, 1967
- Honton Pe Aisi Baat – Lata Mangeshkar
- Aasman Ke Neeche – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
- Dil Pukare – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Rulake Gaya Sapna – Lata Mangeshkar
- Yeh Dil Na Hota – Kishore Kumar
- Title Music
R.D. Burman, 1971
- Piya Tu Ab To – Asha Bhonsle
- Chadti Jawani – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Kitna Pyara Wada – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Goriya Kahan – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Ab Jo Mile Hai – Asha Bhonsle
Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma, 1973
- Main Shayar To Nahin – Shailendra Singh
- Bahar Se Koi Andhar – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
- Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kate – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
- Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
- Na Mangoon Sona Chandi – Manna Dey and Shailendra Singh
S.D. Burman, 1957
- Jaane Woh Kaise – Hemant Kumar
- Aaj Sajan Mohe – Geeta Dutt
- Hum Aap Ki Ankhon Mein – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
- Jane Kya Tune Kahi – Asha Bhonsle
- Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye – Mohammed Rafi
S.D. Burman, 1973
- Tere Mere Milan – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
- Nadiya Kinare – Lata Mangeshkar
- Tere Bindiya Re – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Piya Bina – Lata Mangeshkar
- Ab To Hai Tumse – Lata Mangeshkar
Salil Choudhury, 1971
- Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli – Manna Dey
- Kahin Door Jab Din – Mukesh
- Maine Tere Liye Hi – Mukesh
- Na Jiya Lage Na – Lata Mangeshkar
19. Kabhi Kabhi
Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1976
- Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
- Pyar Kar Liya To – Kishore Kumar
- Main Pal Do Pal Ka – Mukesh
- Mere Ghar Aayi Ek – Lata Mangeshkar
- Tere Chehre Se – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
20. Baiju Bawra
- O Duniya Ke Rakhwale – Mohammed Rafi
- Man Tarpat Hari Dar – Mohammed Rafi
- Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya – Lata Mangeshkar
- Jhoole Mein Pawan Ke – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
- Tu Ganga Ki Mauj – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
21. Mother India
- Duniya Mein Hum Aaye Hain – Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, and Meena Mangeshkar
- Ghunghat Nahin Kholungi – Lata Mangeshkar
- Nagari Nagari Dware Dware – Lata Mangeshkar
- O Janewalo Jao Na – Lata Mangeshkar
- O Gadiwale – Shamshad Begum and Mohammed Rafi
Salil Choudhury, 1958
- Aaja Re Pardesi – Lata Mangeshkar
- Dil Tadap Tadap – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
- Suhana Safar – Mukesh
- Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil – Lata Mangeshkar
- Chadh Gayo Papi Bichua – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
23. Basant Bahar
Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956
- Duniya Na Bhaye Mohammed Rafi
- Bhaye Bhanjana – Manna Dey
- Ja Ja Re Ja – Lata Mangeshkar
- Main Piya Teri – Lata Mangeshkar
- Nain Mile Chain Kahan – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
24. Aar Paar
O.P. Nayyar, 1954
- Babuji Dheere Chalna – Geeta Dutt
- Sun Sun Sun Zalima – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
- Kabhi Aar Kabhi Par – Shamshad Begum
- Yeh Lo Main Haari Piya – Geeta Dutt
- Hoon Abhi Main Jawan – Geeta Dutt
25. Kashmir Ki Kali
O.P. Nayyar, 1964
- Deewana Hua Badal – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Isharon Isharon – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Subhan Allah Haseen – Mohammed Rafi
- Kisi Na Kisi Se – Mohammed Rafi
- Meri Jaan Balle Balle – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
S.D. Burman, 1963
- Ab Ke Baras Bhej – Asha Bhonsle
- O Re Mahji – S.D. Burman
- Mora Gora Ang Laile – Lata Mangeshkar
- Jogi Jab Se Tu Aaya – Lata Mangeshkar
- O Janewale Ho Sake – Mukesh
Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1964
- Yeh Mera Prem Patra – Mohammed Rafi
- Bol Radha Bol – Mukesh
- Dost Dost Na Raha – Mukesh
- O Mehbooba – Mukesh
- Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega – Lata Mangeshkar
28. Yaadon Ki Baraat
R.D. Burman, 1973
- Chura Liya Hai – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
- Aapke Kamre Mein – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
- Lekar Hum Deewana Dil – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
- Meri Soni Meri Tamana – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
- Yaadon Ki Baraat – Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar
29. Amar Prem
R.D. Burman, 1972
- Chingari Koi Bhadke – Kishore Kumar
- Raina Beeti Jaaye – Lata Mangeshkar
- Kuch To Log Kahenge – Kishore Kumar
- Yeh Kya Hua – Kishore Kumar
- Bada Natkhat Hai Yeh – Lata Mangeshkar
30. Umrao Jaan
Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1981
- In Ankhon Ki Masti – Asha Bhonsle
- Dil Cheez Kya Hai – Asha Bhonsle
- Justuju Jiski Hai – Asha Bhonsle
- Yeh Kya Jagah Hai – Asha Bhonsle
- Jab Bhi Milti Hai – Asha Bhonsle
Find out more about these and other classic Bollywood soundtracks on our song pages! Which soundtracks do you consider among classic Bollywood’s all-time best and why? Leave us a comment and let us know!
– Mrs. 55
Amazing … all these are my favourites too!!!
Amazing list, it is hard to dispute this, they are all favorites!
I will rather go by the Music Directors who were outstanding during some periods.. My favourites are:
1.Anarkali , Albela. Parchhain
Aarkali will always be No.! Just close your eyes and listen quietly to ‘O Aasmanwale” ,. Can one express the soul’s anguish more feelingly?
2. Baiju Bawra and Uran Khatola.. Can a beloved ever wish better than saying ” Hamari dil se na jaana? or more playful than ‘Mera salam leja?
3. Jaal, Funtoosh, Pyaasa.Taxi Driver.Paying Guest
If ‘Ye raat ye chandni’ does not pull one’s heart’s strings, one simply has no heart.
Wo Dekhen to unki inayat’- In this poem, the lines Ishq dilon ka mael hai pyare and Ishq ki baazi seedi baazi are the sublimest expressions of true love.
Hum aap ki ankhon mein – what a great love song it is!
4. Patita, Daag , Chori Chori., Kathputhli ,Anadi, Boot Polish, Kanhaiya, Main nashe mein hun
Tujhe apne paas bulati hai teri duniya
Preet ye kaisi and Hum dard ke maron ka- oh what eternal gems!
The three duets in Chori Chori are some of the best ever. Even the first song with chorus- Is paar saajan is so sweet.
Bol ri kathputhli, manzil wohi hai pyar ka , mini mini chi chi- see what sentiments are expressed!
5. Musafir, Naukri, Madhumati, Jagte Raho
Lyrics of Shailendra sparkle with the music of Salil da. I will have to write a big essay to do justice! Just one sample:
Ik aaye, ik jaaye musafir, dhuniya ek sarayi re..
Albele armaanon ke toofan lekar laaye
Naadan sau baras ke saaman lekar laaye
Bus dhool udatha chala jaaye…. ik aaye
Dil ki jubaan apni hai, , dil ki nazar bhi apni
Palbhar mein anjaane se pehchaan bhi ho jaaye
Pehchaan do ghadi ki, ban pyar muskuraaye
Do din ki zindagi rang laaye re… ik aaye.
My God, what simple, sublime lyrics! Shailendra the great!
.Zindagi kwab hai, kwab mein jhoot kya, aur bhala sach hai kya !
6.Aashiana and Mem Sahib. (Madan Mohan)
Main pagal mera manwa pagal….
pagalpan ki reet woh jaane bichde jinki meeth re…
7.Hum Dono, Kinare Kinare (Jaidev)
Chale ja rahen hain, mohabbat ke maare”
Dekhli teri khudaayi
8.Miss Mary (Hemant Kumar)
I have chosen these because almost all songs in these films are good.ie listenable even today.
In the following, only some are outstanding.
9.. Aaram, Tarana (Anilda)
Contain some of the most iconic songs of Hindi filmdom
eg. Man mein kisi ki (Lata)
Ae jaan e jigar (Mukesh)
Ek main hun ek meri (Talat )
Anhonee ( Roshan)
contains Talat’s gem Main dil hun ek armaan bhara. All time great.
Jhanak jhanak payal bhaje outstanding songs, esp ‘Nain so nain nahi milao’
My criterion is just the music, not the stars or actors. I don’t watch movies- just listen to music. Plainly, almost all my favourites are B&W.and pre-1960. I believe that colour has destroyed the soul of our film music.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. 55, You are keeping a tradition alive. Thanks a million. Roy
My favourites that didnt make your fantastic list
1. Laila Majnu (1976)
Such an under appreciated classic and my all time fave.
Madan Mohan, Sahir, Lata and Rafi at their best
This album joyous melodies will ring in your ears days after you hear it.
1. “Husn Hazir Hai” —- “”Lata Mangeshkar””
2. “Tere Dar Pa Aaya Hoon” —- “”Mohammad Rafi””
3. “Hoke Mayoos Tere Dar Se” —- “”Mohammad Rafi, Aziz Nazan, Shankar Shambbhu, Ambar Kumar and Chorus””
4. “Is Reshmi Paazzeb Ki Jhankar” —- “”Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar””
5. “Barbad-E-Mohabbat ki Dua” —- “”Mohammad Rafi””
6. “Ab Agar Hum Se Khudai Bhi” —- “”Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar””
7. “Likhkar Tera Naam Zamin Par” —- “”Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar””
8. “Yeh Deewane Ki Zidd Hai Apne Deewane Ki Khatir Aha” —- “”Mohammad Rafi””
9. “Laila Majnu Do Badan Ek Jaan” — “Anuradha Paudwal, Preeti Sagar, Rajkumar Rizvi”
2 Dosti (1964) Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
1. “Chahoonga Main Tujhe Saanj Savere” Mohammad Rafi
2. “Meri Dosti Mera Pyar” Mohammad Rafi
3. “Rahi Manwa Dukh Ki Chinta” Mohammad Rafi
4. “Mera To Jo Bhi Kadam” Mohammad Rafi
5. “Gudiya Kab Tak Na Hasogi” Lata Mangeshkar
6. “Jaanewalo Zara” Mohammad Rafi
3 Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)
Lyrics: Prakash Mehra & Anjaan
1 “Rote Hue Ate Hain Sab” Kishore Kumar
2 “Zindagi To Bewafa Hai” Mohammad Rafi
3 “O Saathi Re Tere Bina” Kishore Kumar
4 “O Saathi Re Tere Bina-Female” Asha Bhosle
5 “Pyar Zindagi Hai” Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar & Mahender Kapoor
6 “Wafa Jo Na Ki To” Hemlata
7 “Dil To Hai Dil” Lata Mangeshkar
8 “Salaam-e-Ishq Meri Jaan” Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar
my favorites not in the list
1. woh kaun thi
2. jahaan ara
5. hanste zakham
Somebody likes Madan Mohan….. 😉
First and foremost, I just came across this blog and its just superb. Superlike.
Its difficult to pick 30 from the treasure trove of golden era of Hindi film music. Films that don’t belong here are Mother India (great film but not great music), Kabhie Kabhie and may be Bandini. I feel the following films deserve to be in top 30:
Please also post the best 100 songs from Bollywood from 1949 to 1979. That would be really interesting.
Mughal-E-Azam’s song list is missing Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s splendid Shubh Din Aayo.
Laila Majnu (1976) was the return of the Rafi-Lata partnership, after 8 years
It did not disappoint in any way. You can almost tell they are both trying to out do one another in those big numbers. with us the listners ofcourse are the winners.
However for me Rafi is the real artist here, he serves up a masterclass in singing, and impossibly puts Lata second.
– Meera (directed by Gulzar) — Vani Jairam sings Ravi Shankar’s compositions of Meera bhajans — for once it’s not Lata!
– Sharmilee; Tere Mere Sapne (SD Burman)
– Dastak (Madan Mohan)
– Kinara (RD Burman) — very underrated IMO.
Manoj Kumar’s movies tended to have good soundtracks:
– Upkar; Purab aur Pashchim (Kalyanji Anandji)
– Shor; Roti Kapada aur Makaan (Laxmikant Pyarelal)
Anmol Ghadi (1946) with twelve songs out of which more than half were super hit.
Rattan (1944) was a great musical hit too.
Both share the same musical director, Naushad.
No Madan Mohan?
I’ll take any of his films over ‘Bobby’. Anpadh, Woh Kaun Thi, Dekh Kabira Roya, Adalat etc etc.