Singing legend S P Balasubrahmanyam dies at 74 after battling Covid-19

S P Balasubrahmanyam | Photo: Facebook
Veteran singer S P Balasubrahmanyam died in a Chennai hospital on Friday after battling Covid-19 for a month. He was 74.

Balasubrahmanyam was admitted to MGM Healthcare for Covid-19 symptoms on August 5. His condition deteriorated eight days later and was moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and he was on life support and his condition remained critical. 

SPB, as his fans called him, was born into an orthodox Telugu Brahmin family in Andhra Pradesh. He was the second son in a family of three sons and five daughters. His father, S. P. Sambamurthy, was a well-known exponent of traditional art Harikatha and his sister S.P. Sailaja is a former actress-singer in Tollywood. He is survived by daughter Pallavi and son S P B. Charan.

Turning point for his career as singer was in 1964, when he won the first prize in a competition organised by Chennai-based Telugu Cultural Organisation. He was picked up by Music director SP Kodandapani who introduced SPB in film music in 1966, with Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna.

He has sung more than 40,000 songs since then in more than 5 different Indian languages, including Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam. He holds the world record in the Guinness Book of World Records for having sung the most number of song recordings by any singer. SPB has sung several private albumsr also.

SPB also holds the record for the highest number of songs in a day. The singer recorded 21 songs in 12 hours for Kannada composer Upendra Kumar. He also recorded 19 Tamil songs in a day and 16 songs in a day in Hindi. In the song, 'Mannil Intha' for the film 'Keladi Kanmani', he sung continuous lines without pausing for a breath.

The singer won six National Awards and practically monopolised playback singing for more than 30 years in South India.

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