Desert Island Songs of Asha Bhosle (Lifetime)

This survey was a culmination of the series of surveys on Asha Bhosle's songs. Before this, we conducted four period-specific surveys that covered her singing career in different periods, loosely organized by decades. Although it may appear to be a survey of those surveys, it was, in fact, a completely independent exercise. This lifetime survey posed the same question as asked in earlier surveys, but not limiting respondents to any particular period. The participants were asked to choose any Asha solo for a 'desert island' scenario. They were allowed to select a maximum of 50 songs (earlier period-specific surveys had a limit of 40 songs).

In a fitting turn of events, the top spot is occupied by three songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s; composed by O P Nayyar, S D Burman, and R D Burman, respectively. The songs are aaiye meharabaa.N (Howrah Bridge), raat akelii hai (Jewel Thief), and dam maaro dam (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) - three era-defining songs. These songs were in the lists of 64% survey takers. These are closely followed by chain se hamako kabhii from Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. Only seven songs were in the lists of 50% or more people.

The top favorite albums turn out to be Khayyam's Umraao Jaan and Pancham's Ijaazat, both having four songs each in the top-100 and both having a cumulative score of 64 selections each. Her non-film album Dil Padosi Hai also finds a place in top 10 albums at #10.

The best year for Asha according to our survey responders was 1958. Songs from this year were selected 209 times. The next best - 1966 - was almost 50 points behind at 157. But when it comes to decades, 1960s was clearly in the lead with 765 selections among 129 songs. 1950s follows with 107 songs gathering 440 selections.

Pancham, OPN, and SDB remain the composers who gave Asha the most significant amount of memorable songs. Pancham clearly leads the way with 336 total selections, followed by OPN at 230, and SDB at 174. Among lyricists, Majrooh is ahead by far with 277 selections, on the strength of an amazing span of work that includes associations with both SDB and RDB. Gulzar follows with 177 selections and Sahir, somewhat surprisingly, is the 3rd most popular lyricist with 152 selections. These scores are for the top 100 songs but given the normally higher selections for these songs, I suspect the ranking wouldn't change by much for the complete list.

Perhaps due to the increased maximum limit of 50 songs, and with most participants using the full allowance, a total of 453 songs were chosen as desert island songs. Out of these, 124 songs were chosen by only one participant.

So here we are. We have 450+ desert island songs of Asha, thanks to all those who took time to participate. The entire list is available for you to go through. We invite you to explore this diverse collection and celebrate the enduring legacy of Asha Bhosle's music.

Previous period-specific surveys


  • Total songs selected by survey participants: 453
  • Songs selected by two or more participants: 329
  • Songs getting only one vote each: 124
  • Unique albums in selections: 326

Top 10 albums (based on cumulative total votes for songs of an album) 

Rank Album Score
1 Ijaazat 64
1 Umrao Jaan 64
3 Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam 48
4 Mere Sanam 44
5 Caravan 43
6 Bandini 39
7 Jewel Thief 38
8 Howrah Bridge 36
9 Lajwanti 32
10 Dil Padosi Hai (Non-Film) 31

Top 10 years (based on cumulative total votes for songs of a year) 

Rank Year Score
1 1958 209
2 1966 157
3 1971 134
4 1965 119
5 1973 117
6 1963 112
7 1987 99
8 1981 93
9 1960 78
10 1959 66

Number of songs selected by decade 

Decade Songs Count (Total Selections)
1 1950s 107 (440)
2 1960s 129 (765)
3 1970s 103 (506)
4 1980s 95 (416)
5 1990s 16 (53)
6 2000s 3 (3)
Chart: Songs scores by decade

Most favorite composers among Top-100 songs 

Rank Composer Score
1 R D Burman 336
2 O P Nayyar 230
3 S D Burman 174
4 Khayyam 103
5 Ravi 68
6 Hemant Kumar 59
7 Jaidev 50
8 Madan Mohan 42
9 N Dutta 31
10 Roshan 30
11 C Ramchandra 27
11 Salil Chowdhury 27
13 Shankar-Jaikishan 24
14 Kalyanji-Anandji 20

Most favorite lyricists among Top-100 songs  

Rank Lyricist Score
1 Majrooh 277
2 Gulzar 171
3 Sahir 152
4 Shailendra 115
5 Shakeel 83
6 S H Bihari 76
7 Anand Bakshi 72
8 Shahryar 62
9 Hasrat Jaipuri 44
10 Qamar Jalalabadi 37
11 Raja Mehdi Ali Khan 35


Aditya Pant, Ajit Rajwade, Akanksha Sharma, Amarendra R Nargundkar, Arun Verma, Asad ur Rahman Kidwai, Ashok M Dhareshwar, Bharathi Ganapathi, Camaal, Gajendra Khanna, K S Shenoy, Ketan Dholakia, Medha, N Sridhar, Narsingh Dev Agnish, Neeru Malhotra, Nishant Shah, Nitin Shitole, Pavan Jha, Preetham Gopalaswamy, Rahul Nahire, Rakesh Parikh, Sandeep, Sanjay Bhowmick, Sanjay Kathuria, Sanjeev Chandran, Sathya Sekar, Shailendra Diwan, Shalini Razdan, Shekhar, Srivathsan Sekar, Sukesh Hoogan, Surajit Bose, Sushma Sahni, Swaraj Mishra, Vaishali Khushalani, Vandana Vidwans, Veena, Vibhendu Tewari, Vikas Dhawan, Vinay Jain, Vipin Nair, Vish Krishnan, Vivek Choraria, Zafar Syed

Participants who selected 50 songs: 89%
Participants who selected fewer than 25 songs: 0