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One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain ~ Bob Marley
We’ve got to admit that music is an inseparable part of our lives. It has the power to lift the mood or sink within us to the deepest core of our hearts. While we’ve talked a lot about Bollywood films, dialogues, and actors, it’s time to talk about the top 10 best singers of all time.
1. Lata Mangeshkar
An innocent, 13-year-old girl stepped into the Bollywood industry to make a living as an actress and a singer after losing her father to cancer. Who knew she would win so many hearts? Lata Didi, as she is lovingly known, has sung more than 50,000 songs in over 36 languages and is a recipient of the highest civilian honour—Bharat Ratna.
On 27 January 1963, when she sang “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon”, it struck a chord with millions of Indians and brought tears to the then Prime Minister of India - Jawaharlal Nehru. The effect has not faded even a bit after so many years and justifies why she is regarded as the “Nightingale of Bollywood” and the best female singer of all time.
A Dose of Nostalgia:
2. Mohammad Rafi
Mohammed Rafi could switch from a ghazal like “Aap Ke Pehloo Main Aakar Ro Diye” to plaintive bhajan like “Sukh Ke Sab Saathi” or a whacky composition like “Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe” so effortlessly. He had an innate ability to adapt his voice with the screenplay and characters. Remember how he sang the phenomenal song “Sar Jo Tera Chakraye” featuring Johnny Walker? It felt like the actor is actually singing the song because Rafi managed to adapt Walker’s personality into his performance meticulously.
It would certainly not be an overstatement to say that some of the yesteryear heroes are known more for his songs rather than their performances like Bharat Bhushan – “Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi Woh Barsaat Ki Raat” or Biswajit’s – “Pukarta Chala Hoon Main”. All because of this greatest singer of all time.
Dose of Nostalgia:
3. Kishore Kumar
“Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Ka Naata Koi, Yoonhi Nahin Dil Lubhaata Koi '', is the simplest way to define the impact this evergreen male singer has left on our hearts. Be it his madcap comedy, his yodeling, his energetic performance, or his soulful musical rendition, Kishore Kumar has the ability to express the deepest and a myriad range of emotions through his voice and performance. His quirkiness added a distinct charm to his personality.
4. Asha Bhosle
The undisputed Indie Pop queen of India, Asha Bhosle, has transformed the Indian music industry with her varied performances like "Oh Mere Sona Re" or the sensuous "Aaiye Meherban" to voicing the famous cabaret performances of Helen like “Piyaa Tu Ab Toh Aa Jaaa”. Her versatile voice quickly transcends from one genre to another ranging from film music, pop, bhajans, ghazals, to Indian classical music, qawwalis, folk songs, or Rabindra Sangeets. No wonder she is an all-time favorite singer!
Dose of Nostalgia:
Mukesh Kumar is popularly known as “The Voice of Raj Kapoor” because of their superhit pairing, most notably in Awaara, Shree 420, Anadi, Aag, Sangam, and Mera Naam Joker. He was regarded as the greatest male playback singer in Bollywood who possessed a golden voice. He had a distinctive melancholy in his voice that can have tears rolling down your cheeks in an instant.
6. Jagjit Singh
Jagjit Singh was the best singer of all time who was also a musician, music director, and composer. He was regarded as “Ghazal King” for his melodious and soul-piercing voice. He has struggled his way to success and has witnessed the gut-wrenching loss of his son in a car crash. His song “Chithi Na Koi Sandesh, Jaane Wo Kaun Sa Desh Jahan Tum Chale Gaye” perfectly captures the pain of losing and longing for the loved ones. He is known for his work in movies like Veer-Zaara, Prem Geet, Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai, Arth, Saath Saath, Premgeet, Tum Bin, Sarfarosh, Dushman and Tarkeeb.
7. Manna Dey
The fifties were the time when classical music ruled Bollywood and that’s when Manna Dey set his foot in the industry. Not only was he well versed in Hindustani classical music, but he was equally remarkable across a variety of styles and genres. Who can forget his cult performance in Ek Chatur Naar in Padosan, where he had to lend his voice to Mehmood. He was truly a musical genius and greatest singer of all time.
8. Usha Uthup
Usha Uthup has ‘unconventional’ written all over her with her trademark massive bindi, gajra, and Kancheepuram saris and a powerful, almost manly baritone. She has ruled the Indian music industry for over 5 decades now and is still relevant and in demand for her power-packed stage performance in Indian pop, filmi, and jazz.
9. Pankaj Udhas
Pankaj Udhas has an ethereal voice that is light as a feather touch and reaches deep into our souls. He started his journey with a stage performance when he was just 11 years old but did not get the success he deserved until he got a chance to sing for the movie “Naam”. Since then, he has launched more than 40 albums and has given his voice to various Bollywood songs like ”Mahiya Teri Kasam” from the movie “Ghayal” and has successfully carved a niche for himself.
10. Geeta Dutt
Geeta Dutt was known for a mellifluous tone in her voice that had the power to fuel all kinds of emotions into every song she sang. Initially, she was stereotyped as a religious and sad song singer, but with the release of Baazi in 1951, she transformed her image completely and showcased her rare ability to transition from traditional songs to western music without skipping a beat. From 1947 to 1949, she was the reigning queen of playback singing and reserved a favorite spot among the top 10 female singers of all time.
If the mention of these best Bollywood singers has turned you nostalgic, we recommend having a portable carvaan that has all your favorite songs in HD to relive the beautiful memories every day.
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