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The result was that highlife ceased to be a major part of mainstream Nigerian music, and was thought of as being something purely associated with the Igbos of the east.Highlife's popularity slowly dwindled among the Igbos, supplanted by jùjú and fuji.

In 1963, he became the only African musician ever honoured by receiving membership of the Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry in the United Kingdom.[8] Among the Igbo people, Ghanaian highlife became popular in the early 1950s, and other guitar-band styles from Cameroon and Zaire soon followed. Bobby Benson & His Combo was the first Nigerian highlife band to find audiences across the country.

Benson was followed by Jim Lawson & the Mayor's Dance Band, who achieved national fame in the mid-'70s, ending with Lawson's death in 1976.

Although popular styles such as highlife and jùjú were at the top of the Nigerian charts in the '60s, traditional music remained widespread. Dairo Following World War II, Tunde Nightingale's s'o wa mbe style made him one of the first jùjú stars, and he introduced more Westernised pop influences to the genre.

Traditional stars included the Hausa Dan Maraya, who was so well known that he was brought to the battlefield during the 1967 Nigerian Civil War to lift the morale of the federal troops. During the 1950s, recording technology grew more advanced, and the gangan talking drum, electric guitar and accordion were incorporated into jùjú.

During the same period, other highlife performers were reaching their peak.