By admin | November 18, 2008 - 11:34 am - Posted in Uncategorized
This post may look like a sequel to one of my earlier posts “For Records’ Sake”. But in all earnest, it is not. Mr. Lakhwant Singh an engineer by profession and in the business of building bodies for buses, saw the post that I had done for Shah Music Centre. He called me up one day and asked if I could come over to his place as he had something similar to show to me, that I had done for the Shahs. Like the Shahs, Lakhwant Singh too is a collector of vinyl records of the yesteryears. But the similarity ends there. Unlike Shahs – who have been into collecting records for three generations and are into the business in a hardcore way – Lakhwant Singh does it purely for the passion and pleasure of it. It all started during his hostel days at Pant University,where he was pursuing a degree in engineering. He bought his first 78 rpm record of ‘Udan Khatola’ to listen to the song ‘Na Toofan Se Khelo Na Saahil Se Khelo, Mere Paas Aao Mere Dil Se Khelo’. He shelled out two-and-a-half rupees for it solely for the listening pleasure. Hardly did he imagine at that time that collecting records would become a passion for him. While other fellow students were collecting stamps and coins as a hobby, Lakhwant gradually developed the hobby of collecting records. Today, after five decades, Lakhwant has almost all the hindi film and non film records released so far. Apart from Hindi numbers, Lakhwant has a huge collection of old Punjabi records too.

An ardent music lover Lakhwant swears by the quality of sound of vinyl. According to him, vinyl records might have long ago vanished from the shelves of music shops throughout the world, surpassed in quality and convenience by cassettes and compact discs. As older recordings are transferred onto the newer mediums, one might think that progress has plied its logical course. But lost in the grooves of those unwieldy wax discs is the treasure trove of valuable heritage. This seemingly inevitable march toward the digital future has prompted a widespread misunderstanding; while digital media is undeniably more convenient than its analog equivalent,it is by no mans guaranteed to be superior. And there’s no better example of this than the vinyl record. This ‘dead’ technology offers the potential for sound quality that’s far superior to what one hears from a CD or MP3 players, so much so that the joys of vinyl are being redicovered by a new generation of music fans. Had this not been the case, Yash Chopra, in this era of digital sound, would not have come out with the vinyl version of the music of two of his great works, ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’ and ‘Veer Zaara’.

There are times when you can feel and smell the music coming from the vinyl record, especially, if live musicians were playing at the time of the vinyl recording. (Like it was done when Lata Mangeshkar performed live at Albert Hall London in 1974 and Naushad had conducted the orchestra). It retains a retro appeal and a visceral aural aesthetic that an endless stream of bits and bytes will never be able to equal.

Apart from being a music lover, Lakhwant is a historian and encyclopaedia of sort as far as trivia of anecdotes and events that had happened while making of various films and recording of various songs, is concerned. While playing a record on his old and favourite Garrard 301 turntable, he pleasurably narrates interesting incidents that took place while making of that film. For instance, while playing a record of ‘Sholay’ he told about a track of Qawwali which was recorded for the film but was chopped off as the film had already become too lengthy. Lakhwant Singh then played that eight minute track which was sung by Kishore Kumar, Bhupender, Manna Dey and Anand Bakshi (the famous song writer who also wrote songs for Sholay). The Qawwali, “Chaand sa Koi Chhehra na Pehloo Mein Ho, To Chaandni ka Mazaa Nahin Aata, Jaam Peekar Sharaabi Na Gir Jaaye to Maikashi Ka Mazaa Nahin Aata”, was picturised at Soorma Bhopali’s shop.

Old English records also are a part of his vast library. He proudly displays a rare collection of a set of thirteen LPs of Beatles’ records, which were released in a hard bound pack with the signatures of the Fab Four – John Lenon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) – on the pack. It’s a rare piece of collector’s item, nearly impossible to find.

Andy Williams, Billy Joel, Cliff Richard, Micheal Jackson and many more pop stars’ of 50s and 60s add to the collection of Lakhwnat Singh’s treasure trove.

Among these is one particular record of Cliff Richard – CLIFF RICHARD AND THE SHADOWS – a rare red coloured vinyl 12-track Odeon label stereo LP made in Japan, complete with near impossible to find 3/4 length ‘hankake obi strip’ – A stunning addition to any Cliff collection.

Apart from the Hindi, Punjabi and English records, Lakhwant has a huge collection of Pakistani films and non-films records. Ranging from the rendition old and all time stalwarts like Mallika Pukhraj, Mehdi Hasan and Sabri Brothers to the not so old Mussarat and Munni Bai

The glossy picture cover sleeve of Lakhwant’s records remains in excellent condition with just minor creasing around the perimeter and a very slight ringwear impression on the covers (considering that some records are as old as forty years). The curved flipbacks are secure, there are no seam splits and distinctive pinched-edge spine is strong, with clearly legible print along the length. And to maintain all the collection of records, he is ably assisted by his disciple Gurmeet Singh and nephew Ramanjit Singh

(This post in no way is a comparison between the collections of Shah Music Centre and Lakhwant Singh. Shahs would always be ‘SHAHS’ as far as the collection of records is concerned. Lakhwant in his own esteem is passionate about the collection – Shahs are ‘SHAHENSHAH’ and ‘SINGH IS KING’ !

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  1. November 19, 2008 @ 10:41 AM

    Mr. Lakhwant Singh and the Shahs should have a memorial built to them. Fabulous memorabilia! By the way, The Smell of Vinyl reminds of the seats in the Milk Bar on the outer circle of Connaught Place. They had greasy hamburgers with fried buns, onions and tomato rings – just the way I love ’em! They also had a jukebox at one time, during the ’60s that featured great music, including pop. I wonder if you, or any of your readers have photos of that part of Delhi’s dining and entertainment history?

    Posted by praveer
  2. November 20, 2008 @ 6:36 PM

    above shahs there is maharaja of records wanna to know wait for three days

    Posted by Anonymous
  3. November 22, 2008 @ 1:16 PM

    I enjoyed going through the article. However, stacks and stacks of vinyls are always available in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), including rare records, where collectors and lovers of music go hunting. The same thing can be said about London.
    There are many instances where songs recorded for films were deleted when the film was released. If I am not mistaken Lata’s song
    “Mein ne kab tumse kaha tha
    Ke musjhe pyaar karo
    Pyaar jab tumne kiya tha
    Tau nibhaya hota”, which was picturised on Waheeda Rehman for 1967’s “Ram aur Shyam”, was nowhere to be found when the film was released. The only song of Talat Mahmood in the film “Aadmi” (Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rehman) was deleted when the film was released in 1968. The ghazal maestro was so disheartened that he stopped playback singing for films from that day on. It was a great loss for music aficionados.
    Sometimes its the opposite case as songs seen and heard on film are not available on vinyl like
    “Ek Chattur Naar
    Baddi Hushiyaar” from Mehmood’s 1968 classic “Padosan”, the reason being it was NEVER recorded on an LP, EP or 45rpm.
    By the way, “The Beatles Collection” album signed by each of The Fab Four does seem to be rare as I have never even seen a photograph of it. However, its boxed cover seems to be worn out which minimises its value many times. Rare collections should always be in mint condition to enhance their value.

    Posted by Mohsin Maqbool Elahi
  4. November 24, 2008 @ 10:07 AM

    Once Akbar asked his famous court musician and singher, Tansen, that did he ever come across a singer better than him. Tansen said yes there was a woman whose singing he had heard and found that her singing was better than his. Akbar desired to hear her and asked Tansen to invite the woman to the Court. Tansen said that the woman would not come to the durbar as she sings only for her own pleasure and for the love of God Krishna and Jahanpanah would have to go to her to hear her sing. Akbar who was a connoissuer of music agreed and went personally to hear Mira Bai sing. The moral of the story is that the competition -whatever it may be about – should always be healthy. I had to write this when I saw a clarification at the bottom of the article, which was not there when I had seen the post a week ago.I hope Lakhwant Singh and the Shahs, both would agree to this.

    Posted by naresh
  5. January 10, 2009 @ 4:58 PM

    Loved d article n moreover luvd d last line of it ,
    —Shahs are shehenshas but Singh is King—-….
    True True True

    Posted by shrutss
  6. January 26, 2009 @ 2:11 PM

    Really great Mr. Lakhwant Singh Ji

    HATS-OFF to you….i have a huge collection of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs, CDs, Cassettes and their Picture gallery, but after watching your treasure….



    Posted by ranu
  7. August 31, 2010 @ 10:18 AM

    Respected Sir,
    I also have the hobby of rare music collection. I am familiar with the collection at Shah Music Centre, Meena Bazaar, but had no idea about Mr. Lakhwant Singh. Can you please send me the address and contact details of Mr. Lakhwant Singh?
    With Regards:
    Amol Vasudeva (Shimla)

    Posted by amol
  8. September 24, 2010 @ 10:40 AM

    Any one desirous of purchasing the vinyl records may please contact me on +919810934240 / +919212419891 or e-mail me at

    Posted by lakhwant
  9. November 12, 2010 @ 11:03 AM

    Love your very informative articles on vinyl record collectors in Delhi. I am an avid collector of vinyl and will be visiting Delhi next week. Can you recommend places I can find old 70's Indian music.

    Artists that interest me are Ananda Shankar, R.D. Burman, Kalyanji Anandji, Laxmikant Pyarelal as I have heard some of their music already and would love to collect some more.

    Posted by Mike
  10. March 31, 2011 @ 6:48 PM

    Very interesting. I agree with the comment above. hand tooled leather purse . I bookmarked your site. proto hand tools . When are you going to write another post? hand tool sets . I would like to be a guest author sometime.

    Posted by Hand Tools

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