Chennai: Veteran playback singer and multiple-national award winner S.P Balasubrahmanyam, known as the voice of generations of India’s leading cinema heroes, breathed his last after a long battle against COVID-19 at a private hospital in Chennai on Thursday.
Without any formal training in music, S.P Balasubrahmanyam emerged as one of the most versatile singers of the country.
The singer’s remarkable journey spanning over five decades and multiple film industries is nothing less than the script of an interesting film. He recorded over 40,000 songs in his career.
Winner of multiple National Awards, he has also been honoured with Padma Bhushan and Padmashri.
Born into a Telugu Brahmin family in 1946 in Nellore, S.P Balasubrahmanyam was interested in music from a young age.
A self-taught singer, Balasubrahmanyam learnt music on his own.
Even though he enrolled into Engineering at JNTU College, Anantapur, he dropped out midway as he fell ill. While pursuing his passion for music, he joined as an Associate Member of the Institution of Engineers.
Even before making his playback singing debut, Balasubrahmanyam joined hands with legendary composer Ilayaraja and his brother Gangai Amaran to start a music troupe.
He was the lead singer of the band.
With over 50,000 songs across many Indian languages and numerous prestigious honours, including Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan to his credit, Balasubrahmanyam is one of the few singers to have sung for all the leading stars of southern industries over the last five decades.
For the longest time, there was a tradition of having SP Balasubrahmanyam sing the opening track in a Rajinikanth’s film.
Balasubrahmanyam was also a popular voice-over artist and had dubbed for Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth when their films were dubbed into Telugu.