Anyone who’s familiar with the music scene in Pakistan will know the name Vital Signs, one of the country’s best-known rock bands. They emerged in the early 80s and were fronted by Junaid Jamshed who help the band incorporate Western rock–Van Halen, Deep Purple, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd–into traditional Pakistani sounds. This, for all intents and purposes, was the beginning of rock in Pakistan. Doing this sort of thing in ultra-conservative Pakistan was risky, yet they managed to both survive and thrive.
Concurrently with the group’s lifespan (Vital Signs lasted until 1998 and reunited in 2002 and 2013), Jamshed became a huge solo star. In 2004, he turned his back on his rock’n’roll roots, embracing Islam while also becoming a serial entrepreneur, establishing and nurture ventures as wide-ranging as travel agencies and butcher shops. He also became known as a preacher with popular podcasts and radio broadcasts.
Jamshed died with 47 other people on Wednesday (December 7) when a Pakistani International Airlines flight went down 70 km north of Islamabad.