Veteran singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, who was admitted in August after testing positive for COVID-19, passed away today at 1.04 p.m. The actor was hospitalised in MGM Healthcare and was on ventilator for a long time. In his career, SPB crooned over 40,000 songs in as many as 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and others.

On August 5th, the SPB shared a video after testing positive for COVID-19, where he said, “I am in good health. Nobody has to worry about this one, so please don’t bother to call me to find out how I am. I am having a little discomfort, some congestion in the chest, which, for a singer, is nonsense. And fever on and off. Otherwise, I don’t have any problem. But I don’t want to take it easy so I came to the hospital to get checked.” Known for his distinct voice, music historian Vamanan told the Hindu, “His was a breeze-like voice of A.M Raja, with the softness of the P.B. Srinivas and the effortlessness of Mohamed Rafi.”

“Even SPB had apprehensions about taking on the assignment as he had no proper training in classical music. It was T.K. Pugazhlendhi, the assistant of music director K.V. Mahadevan, who persuaded SPB to render the songs,” he added. “Anyone who had listened to the part he rendered for Shoban Babu would realise potential in the voice. It proved to be a prelude for a record career in film music. Though the song was recorded first, another song, Aayiram Nilave Vaa in the MGR-starrer Adimaipen reached the public first — the film was released earlier in the year 1969,” explained the historian.

Talking about his Bollywood work, the actor has voiced Salman Khan for films like Saajan, Hum Apke Hain Koun, Maine Pyaar Kiya, while he also crooned the title track of Shah Rukh Khan starrer Chennai Express.

RIP SPB!

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