Skip to content

Genius of MSV Part 1: Why Old Songs Will Melt Cold Hearts

old songs

(No matter where you are right now, no matter how old you are, I am sure you always have your favourite old songs by these dynamic duos that you don’t mind humming the whole day long. Image source: Silverscreen India)

Despite “starting off” with the music of Illayaraja and later discovering the new age music of A R Rahman and then Yuvan Shankar Raja, Harris and all the new music directors, I always had soft spot for the music from the 1960s and 1970s in particular songs composed by MS Viswanathan – Ramamoorthy (MSV) and penned by the great poet Kannadasan (I also liked songs composed by KV Mahadevan and AM Raja).

Check out these 2 fine examples of a song that talks about a woman in general with the maestro MSV handling the rhythm and Kannadasan taking care of the lyrics:-

YouTube player

(One of many great songs from movies starring the legendary MGR. One that stands out is this lyric – “Milk is white, so is the toddy but the truth is only known once I had to drink it. Women are the same and I am feeling drunken from her” – from the movie, Idhayakkani)

YouTube player

(Kannadasan is brilliant as usual – only a poet like him can think of these words – “the poet Kamban got cheated, thinking all girls are like flowers” which nails the situation in the movie Nizhal Nijamagiradhu)

I like old songs for 3 reasons:-

1. It brings back memories from my childhood time. Songs from MGR and Sivaji movies composed by MS Viswanathan were still played as mainstream songs when I was still an infant. The same songs are played during weddings and family functions and it is something that triggers good memories whenever I hear the same songs.

2. The song itself. Back in those days and before the digital age, it is not easy to compose and record songs and the songs must meet the high expectations of very demanding directors, producers and audiences.

No high tech gadgets to tune the music and composition and the only way to go would be to do things old school – proper orchestrate (instead of music software) and the singers getting the words and tunes just right. MS Viswanathan once told he once worked with a famous director who will drop by the recording studio just to make sure that the singers get the pronunciation of words just right.

The rhythm and the music arrangement is simply out of this world. It is just too bad that the recording has not been digitalised due to the lack of technology back then. This is why someone needs to redo all the orchestration and rendering of MSV songs again. Trust me, it will be a big hit.

3. The lyrics. In those days, every word has a beautiful meaning and it is something to look out for. Who can forget lyrics like “don’t sharpen your knife but sharpen your mind” or “From the neck of Lord Shiva, the snake asked the garuda if it is feeling good and the garuda who will fight & kill snakes replied that if everyone stays at their right place, all will end in a good ending”?

Very deep meaning indeed. Don’t get me wrong, it is not like the new songs have very bad lyrics – quite a number of the songs do have the same beautiful lyrics that one had heard back in the 1960s but sometimes some of them simply get lost within the music.

They say old is gold and the same goes for old songs. It is also ageless too. I just wish someone will compile again all the old songs and re-record them so that tunes that is lost by old technology and analogue dust in the past is preserved in pristine condition and made available for the next generation of music lovers.

Please Leave Your Thoughts on the Post