Salman, Ali & Brian
||1990 - Present
جنون) (meaning "obsession" in Urdu and "craziness" in
Arabic) is one of Pakistan
Asia's most popular Rock
bands, based out of Lahore, Pakistan,
and formed in 1990
Salman Ahmad. At the time, Junoon consisted of two other members: Ali
Azmat on vocals
Nusrat Hussain on
The name Junoon, as the band was so named, came to lead guitarist
Salman Ahmad in his dream. He said that in his dream he saw one of his
teachers shaking him and said, "Tumhey mousiqui ka Junoon hai!"
(meaning "You have an obsession for music!").Most popular song of JUNOON was (jazba-i-junoon)
was released in 1992 just prior to world cup cricket tournament,in which their
home country won the prestige.
Though the band's first album, the self titled "Junoon"
barely made a dent in the Pakistani music industry, their second album "Talaash"
(the quest) began creating a cult following for Junoon.
It was only after their 1995 release of
their third album "Inquilaab"
(Revolution), that Junoon developed a nationwide fan following, blending rock
guitars and bluesy vocals with eastern elements like the use of tablas
(traditional south Asian hand drums), raga-inspired melodies, traditional
folk music, and Eastern inspired poetry.
The band were one of the first bands in
to insist on playing live music where most music was sampled and programmed
synth pop. Heavily influenced by rock bands like Led
Zeppelin, Junoon aimed at combining loud guitar riffs with the
tranquility of sufi
poetry by the likes of Maulana Rumi,
Allama Iqbal and Baba Bulleh
Success didn't come easy to Junoon as they tried to defy traditions in a
conservative country like Pakistan. Their politically influenced songs were
often subject to
censorship, which led to the eventual ban from all state run
radio during the rule of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz
In 1998, the
band took both Pakistan and India by storm with their hit single "Sayonee"
which was part of their tremendously successful fourth studio album "Azadi"
(Freedom) released by
EMI. In 1999,
Junoon released their fifth studio album "Parvaaz"
(The Flight), which was based mostly on the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah. "Parvaaz"
was recorded and mixed at
Abbey Road Studios in London and
was hailed by critics as Junoon's finest work to date. Junoon won the award of
"Best International Group" at the Channel V
Music Awards in New Delhi, India in
November 1999, where Sting, Def
Leppard, and Prodigy
performed with Junoon.
invited Junoon to perform at their Millennium Peace concert in 1999 in Paris. The
synergy created by Junoon aimed at peace, was an inspiration to all those
present, which included renowned legendary artists like
Lionel Richie, Dr. K.J.
Montserrat Caballé and Zubin
Mehta conducting the
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. The famous actors
Sidney Poitier, and
Peter Ustinov were the masters of ceremony. Dignitaries from around the
world, including the heads of the
European union and the ambassadors from 170 countries attended this global
Compilation albums of the bands music and videos were released in 2000 (Junoon
1990-2000). Junoon released "Ishq"
in 2001 and "Dewaar"
in 2003. Salman
Ahmad was appointed Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations, attending a
Special Session of the
UN General Assembly. Following the 9/11
attacks, Junoon helped to organise a concert at the General Assembly on UN Day with
Junoon and an Indian group performing at the Assembly Hall, a first of its
kind. They also released their first English-language single, "No more" - an
anti-violence song which deals directly with the events of that day. However
they called "No More" as their first English song but before "No More" they
had released English songs in their first two albums such as "Our Land", "Lady
Magic", "Downtown Princess", "Game Of Chance". The song "No More" is the first
English song for which Junoon made a video.
Junoon has been the most successful Pakistani group in history, having
toured extensively around the planet, including at the renowned European rock
Roskilde in June 2000, where Pearl Jam, Iron
Queensr˙che, and over 200 other world famous artists performed. The band
has been across Asia, Europe,
North America, the Middle
East, and performed for kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers
across the globe.
Junoon's track "Garaj Baras" was selected as part of a Bollywood
movie soundtrack in 2003 for the Pooja
Bhatt film Paap, which topped the charts again in that country in 2004. The band's
controversial single "Pappu Yaar" again shot to the #1 spot in Pakistan.
In 2005, Brian
O'Connell returned to his native New York.
Mekal Hassan and the band's producer
John Alec have been playing bass guitar for live shows in his place. A
reunion concert took place in Dubai, UAE in March 2006.
Both band members Ali Azmat
Salman Ahmad have released their debut solo album in the market. Nowadays
they are both busy supporting their solo albums.
Salman Ahmad said in a few interviews that Junoon will release their 8th
studio album in the year of 2007.
As it goes for Junoon's music, what has been seen is that their music,
lyrics and sound is based upon issues of today. Their music has been one major
force which has truly kept the national spirits high amidst the prevailing
social woes which have surely worsened in the last three decades. Such music
included songs like Jazba-E-Junoon, Sayonee, Talaash, Main kaun hun and many
more. Considering everything mentioned on this page, it is not surprising to
learn that the popularity, standard and stature of Junoon is considered to be
the same as that of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Lata Mangeshkar. Junoon's music
has captivated the Pakistani youth for well over ten years and they were the
only saving grace to Pakistani music on the international scene after the
departure of Pakistani pop-music heavyweights, Nazia Hassan, Zohaib Hassan and
the Vital Signs.
One of the legendary tours that Junoon had undertaken was their tour to
Denmark and Europe in 2000-2001. This tour played a pivotal role in increasing
Junoon's international popularity and standing and in spreading awareness
about Pakistani music.
Junoon has played a major role in bringing the people of India and Pakistan
close to one another. When tensions were high after the nuclear explosions in
1998, Junoon's' "Yaaron yehi dosti hai" was being played quite
enthusiastically across music channels in India which also had a sizeable
audience in Pakistan. Junoon's viewpoints on nuclear tests were loud enough to
reach the White House. Their claim that rather than spending billions on
nuclear weapons which would basically cause nothing more ruthless destruction,
should be spent on spreading the light of education, alleviating poverty and
providing good socio-health care conditions to the masses.
However, what was untold back then, was the erupting tensions and rivalry
among band members. All this came into the limelight in 2002, when Salman
Ahmad moved to the United States and Brian commented in an interview to
Dawn's Images that his position in Junoon was 'temporarily non-existent'.
Junoon managed to get a break from all these controversies when they released
the super-hit Pappu Yaar Tang na Kar. Still, the rivalry did not end
here. The band members separated for about two years during which Ali Azmat,
released the highly acclaimed Social Circus. This album, alongside Atif
Aslam's Jalpari, Jal's Aadat and Fakhir's Mantra has sold very well in the
market. Ali Azmat's Naa re Naa won him many awards by the music channel
Indus Music and also at the Lux Style Awards.
Ali Azmat (Lead Vocalist)
- Previously was in Jupiters.
- Recently released a solo album Social Circus.
- Activist and founder of the musicians rights league.
- Icon of angry youth.
- Host of a famous youth talkshow "Pappu yaar tang na kar".
- Songwriter and was the driving force of junoon`s sufi-rock.
Salman Ahmad (Guitar/Songwriter)
- Previously was in Eclipse,
The Doctor's League (pop band)
- Previously was in the band
- Brought up in
Rockland County, New York.
- Appeared in the VH1 News Special
Islamabad Rock City, a rockumentary on Junoon hosted by Susan Sarandon
- Appeared in the
The Rockstar and the Mullahs in 2004.
- Appeared in the
It's My Country Too in 2005.
- UN Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/Aids
- Made two appearances on
Politically Incorrect with Bill
Maher in 2001.
Brian O'Connell (Bass)
- A U.S.
citizen by origin who eventually called Pakistan his home.
- Was friends with
Salman Ahmad long before Junoon was formed.
- Joined the band during the second album Talaash
- Responsible for harmonising the western 5-string bass riffs with the
traditional tabla and drums.
- Was married to Pakistani actress and model
Ayesha Alam whom he met in Karachi during a concert and subsequently
fell in love with. The two soon married and had two lovely girls, Rachel and
Ally. Brian was widely reported to be a dedicated father, who spent every
free moment with his girls. Swimming was always on top of his list. But
after 12 years together, Ayesha and Brian divorced in 2003.
- Announced departure from the band in 2004
- Started a guitar school in karachi.
- Now resides in East Babylon, NY.Taking treatment for his depression and
has recently opened a guitar institute in NY.
Shehryar Ahmad (Band Manager)
- Designed www.junoon.com as the first Pakistani music website.
- Joined the band to release the Azadi album, negotiating the band's first
international record deal with EMI World.
- Arranged Junoon's first international tour of the US, UK, Europe, the
Middle East, Japan, China and India.
- Negotiated largest endorsement contract with Coke in 2003.
- Announced departure from the band in 2005 to join BMA Capital, an
John Alec (Producer/Bassist)
- Mixed and produced Azadi, Parvaaz, Ishq, Daur-e-Junoon, and Deewar
- Childhood friend of founder Salman Ahmad
- Owns J.A. Studios in New York
- Started playing bass for Junoon after Brian's departure from the band
Nusrat Hussain (Keyboards)
- Was previously with the band
- Was part of Junoon only during the debut album.
- Was the voice behind the first composition and hit 'Khawab'.
- Went on to release a solo album in 1992.
- Is a pilot for
Pakistan International Airlines.
- Singles: "Khaub", "Neend Aati Nahin"
- Label: EMI: Pakistan
||Talaash (The Search)
- Singles: "Bheegi Yaadein", "Jazba-E-Junoon", "Talaash"
- Label: EMI: Pakistan
- Singles: "Dosti","Rooh Ki Pyas", "Mein Kaun Hoon"
- Label: VCI
- Singles: "Khudi", "Meri Awaz Suno", "Sayonee", "Yaar Bina"
- Label: EMI Arabia / VCI
||Parvaaz (The Flight)
- Singles: "Bulleya","Ghoom"
- Label: EMI Arabia / Lips Records
- Singles: "Chal Kuriye","Chaen", "Ishq"
- Label: Lips Records
||Dewaar (The Wall)
- Singles: "Deewar","Baarish", "Garaj Baras", "Yeh Maza Zindagi Ka",
- Label: Sadaf Stereo
- Junoon expressed interest in singing with Morten Harket, vocalist of the
Norwegian band a-ha. Morten Harket and Junoon teamed up for a duet in 2001.
- Junoon has also sung a cover of the Morten Harket song " Holy Ground ".
- Salman who is the
UN Goodwill ambassador for HIV Aids, was invited once again recently to
perform at the UN General Assembly Hall with
Whoopi Goldberg, Naomi
Wyclef Jean (from the Fugees) and
Jackie Chan in 2006.