You’ve probably heard of Nigerian Songs that came like a wave, reached their climax and like wind disappeared, never to be heard again. This is a common trend with several of the ongoing releases in Nigeria. And once a particular joint goes on rotation in several TV channels and radio stations, it gradually starts to fade away before it eventually becomes a song that’s only heard on rare occasions. This is an incisive definition of a ‘club banger’ but when it comes to a classic joint, then this one is meant to last a lifetime or ‘maybe’ passed to the next generation to be enjoyed by our kids and their grandchildren.
Such songs, in spite of having been produced several decades ago, still grace our stereos like new songs that are just fresh from the studio. So, if you’re in Nigeria and can’t figure out any ‘evergreen’ Nigerian song, then here are 10 such songs in Nigeria that you should be singing along if you consider yourself a true Nigerian:
1. African Queen by 2face Idibia — 2004
This might be the latest classic, but believe me when I say that our great grandchildren will still bump to this song twenty decades to come. In fact, this song is more popular than 2face himself and the market can’t just get enough of it. It has managed to win him several awards as well as secure him an international recognition. Besides, it was used as a soundtrack in the ‘Phat Girlz’ comedy movie, and even till date, several radio stations still play this song more than most of Idibia’s new releases.
2. Now or Ever by Sonny Okusun — 1986
This is a song that brings back memories to every adult who listened to the song in the 80’s and early 90’s. It was released in 1986 after the ‘Which Way Nigeria’ single, and has since then been on rotation in several radio stations. It even earned Sonny Okusun an international recognition and every person that remembers him is reminded of this great single despite the time frame.
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3. Wonder Wonder by Femi Kuti — 1995
Femi Kuti is one of the most revered afro-pop artists, and at the top of his classics is the ‘Wonder Wonder’ single, which was released in 1995. This is the same song that put Femi Kuti on the map, and also played a big role in jump-starting his music career on a high note. Wonder wonder is definitely one of Femi Kuti’s songs that will forever remain evergreen and, at the same time, be sung by several generations a hundred years to come.
4. The Way Forward by King Sunny Ade & various artists — 1994
In 1994, King Sunny Ade brought 32 Nigerian artists and actors together and they collectively recorded a song against ethnic violence called ‘The Way Forward’ that became an automatic hit and an evergreen classic. The song was sung in several languages — Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba and several of other Nigerian languages, and the message revolved around urging Nigerians to stop fighting against each other and, instead, celebrate their independence together.
5. Joromy by Sir Victor Uwaifo — 1969
Born in 1941 in Nigeria, Uwaifo is a Nigerian writer, sculptor and musician whose ‘Joromy’ hit single is a major classic that’s currently receiving massive airplay in several African stereos and radio stations. It’s a song that earned Uwaifo his legendary status as he could play the guitar using both his hands, feet and tongue while performing the song — something that was very strange in the 1960’s. The song earned him the first gold record and a formidable international recognition, and even till date, it is considered as a major classic that still sounds fresh in every ear.
6. Seun Rere by Christie Igbokwe Essien — 1981
Christie Igbokwe Essien is one of the most respected music pioneers in Nigeria, and who has actually played a major role in getting Nigerian music where it is now. She is well-remembered for her ‘evergreen’ classic, Seun Rere, which still sounds new to every ear despite being recorded over 30 years ago. This track was recorded by Lemmy Jackson, and it’s one of the Nigerian classics that is deemed to last for over a thousand and one years to come.
7. Iyogogo by Onyeka Onwenu — 1992
From her fourth album — ‘One Love’, Iyogogo became the favourite joint for most of Onyeka’s fans. In fact, the whole album had a strong impact on Nigerians’ lives because it preached a message of love and peace, with the Iyogogo single becoming an instant international hit. And apparently, anyone who listens to the Iyogogo song automatically becomes Onyeka’s fan in spite of the time that it was released.
8. Sweet Mother by Prince Nico Mbarga — 1976
Prince Nico Mbarga recorded Sweet Mother in 1976, which sold over 13 million copies upon its release and has been globally considered as the African greatest song of all time. Even though Prince Mbarga only had this song as the only significant hit song, it actually earned him a lot of respect and, at the same time, gave him an international recognition. Despite his death that occurred as a result of a tragic motorcycle accident on 24th June 1997, he is still remembered for this classic that will never fade among hordes of his fans any time soon.
9. Water-No-Get-Enemy by Fela Kuti — 1975
From the Expensive Shit album, the Water-No-Get-Enemy single is a huge classic that’s still sung by several of Fela Kuti’s fans up till today. It is a classic song that’s more philosophical than political as it metaphorically explains the natural flow of water in reference to the harmonious interaction of human being. It is a song that was way ahead of its time, and that’s definitely one of the reasons why this song is still considered as a major classic several decades down the line.
10. Afro Juju by Shina Peters — 1989
Shina Peters and the ‘International stars’ band is a household name that will never fade for the next a thousand years. He has 16 well acclaimed albums with the afro juju series 1 album being the most favored album by most of his fans up-to date. He is considered as the creator of the ‘Afro juju’ music genre, and most of the songs in the Afro juju series 1 album are regarded as classic hits by anyone who has listened the album.