Music is dynamic and unpredictable; while some compositions go on to stand the test of time, others fail to have a familiar ring just a few years after release. Making evergreen songs have been called a stroke of luck, a moment of genius or a flash of superior artistry.
While there is hardly any musician who goes into the studio with the foreknowledge that they will be making a classic tune, some just happen to record a song that will be remembered forever.
Not many artists get to have such an experience in their lifetime and the few that do so cannot lay claim to many seminal songs that will outlive them.
In the spirit of Nigeria’s Independence Day, we present to you the top 10 evergreen songs that identify with everything it means to be a Nigerian.
Song Title: One Love
Artist: Onyeka Owenu
Year of Release: 1986
On ‘One love’, Onyeka Onwenu preaches love, unity and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, irrespective of religious and ethnic differences. The classic song was the title track of her fourth album, ‘One Love’, which was released in 1986.
Song title: Motherland
Artist: Sound Sultan
Year of Release: 2006
When Sound Sultan released this monster hit in 2006, many Nigerians in the disapora felt inspired to return to the country.
‘Motherland’ is built on the ‘no place like home’ saying. On the song, the artist harps on the fact that no matter how far one may stray, the heart must always long for home.
Song title: The Way Forward
Artist: King Sunny Ade & Others
Year of release: 1994
This star-studded evergreen collaboration is led by King Sunny Ade who assembled about 30 of his colleagues to record what became a national hit.
At nine minutes long, ‘The Way Forward’ features Orlando Owoh, Dele Abiodun, Malik Showman, Oritz Wiliki, Charley Boy, among others.
Song Title: Power of Naija
Year of release: 2011
Regarded as the mordern king of Nigerian music, 2baba is one of those few artists that have more than one evergreen song.
‘Power of Naija’ is one of such classic songs that celebrates Nigeria and seeks to remind the citizenry of their resilience and the ability to collectively overcome any challenge and surmount all encumbrances.
Song title: Which way Nigeria
Artist: Sonny Okosun
Year of release: 1983
As one of the leading Nigerian musicians from the late 70s to mid 80s, Okosun has a rich catalogue.
His classic song, ‘Which way Nigeria’, was released in February 1983 – at a time when the democratic administration of Shehu Shagari was plagued by allegations of massive corruption and electoral fraud.
The song was a wake-up call to Nigerians and their leaders.
Song title: The Future
Artist: TY Bello
Year of release: 2011
Released as the lead single from the album of the same name, ‘The Future’ is one of TY Bello’s most-profound recordings.
The inspirational and empowering song is dear to many Nigerian youths as it was released at a time where hope in the country was thinning.
Song title: Let’s Live Together
Year of release: 2003
The band KUSH, signed to American-based DKG record label, was made up of Toyin Bello, Lara George, Dapo Torimiro and rapper Emem Inyang.
In 2003, they released their most famous song, ‘Let’s Live Together’, as part of their album, ‘The Experience’.
‘Let’s Live Together’ calls for peace, tolerance, love and harmony among all Nigerians.
Song title: One Kilometre
Artist: Evi-Edna Ogholi
Year of release: 1988
Evi Edna Ogholi is a female reggae musician who is most renowned for her uber hit song, ‘Happy Birthday’.
Another classic track of hers is ‘One Kilometre’, a song which she penned about Nigeria and how we are all one, inspite of language barriers.
Song title: Greenland
Artist: TY Bello
Year of release: 2007
TY Bello is the only artist to feature on this list and that speaks volumes of the quality of her eclectic and soulful music style.
‘Greenland’, the title track of her solo debut album, is an inspirational song written to motivate Nigerians to liberate themselves from a place of despair to a place of hope.
Song title: Great Nation
Artist: Timi Dakolo – Great Nation
Year of release: 2012
Timi Dakolo’s ‘Great Nation’ is one of those songs that lift your spirit and takes you to places you can’t explain.
At the time of its release under Lone Recors/Now Muzik, the song was so huge that a number of people called on the Nigerian government to make it the new national anthem.