SP Balasubrahmanyam, Indian Film Music Legend, Dead at 74

Beloved Indian singer SP Balasubrahmanyam has died, BBC News and CNN report. He had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in August. According to the reports, he died of cardio-respiratory arrest. Balasubrahmanyam was 74 years old.

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam was renowned for his work as a playback singer, which means he actually sang the songs that film actors would lip-sync on screen. In addition to his prolific output—he’s said to have recorded over 40,000 songs—Balasubrahmanyam was admired for his ability to sing across different styles and languages.

Balasubrahmanyam won several National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer. He also received the civilian honors Padma Shri (in 2001) and Padma Bhushan (in 2011).

M.I.A. sampled SP Balasubrahmanyam’s music on her 2007 Kala opener “Bamboo Banga.” Madlib also sampled a song of Balasubrahmanyam’s for “Get It Right,” which featured on the collection Beat Konducta Vol. 4: Beat Konducta in India.

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