The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Indian Singers of all time. This list of famous Indian Singers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Indian Singers.
With an HPI of 64.47, Lata Mangeshkar is the most famous Indian Singer. Her biography has been translated into 70 different languages on wikipedia.
Lata Mangeshkar ([ləˈt̪aː məŋˈɡeːʃkər] (listen); born Hema Mangeshkar; 28 September 1929 – 6 February 2022) was an Indian playback singer and occasional music composer. She is widely considered to have been one of the greatest and most influential singers in India and one of the world's greatest singers, according to BBC. Her contribution to the Indian music industry in a career spanning eight decades gained her honorific titles such as the "Queen of Melody", "Nightingale of India", and "Voice of the Millennium".Lata recorded songs in over thirty-six Indian languages and a few foreign languages, though primarily in Marathi, Hindi, and Bengali. Her foreign languages included English, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Nepali, and Swahili. She received several accolades and honors throughout her career. In 1989, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award was bestowed on her by the Government of India. In 2001, in recognition of her contributions to the nation, she was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour; she is only the second female singer, after M. S. Subbulakshmi, to receive this honour. France conferred on her its highest civilian award, Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, in 2007.She was the recipient of three National Film Awards, 15 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards, four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards, two Filmfare Special Awards, the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award and many more. In 1974, she was the first Indian playback singer to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Her last recorded song was "Saugandh Mujhe Is Mitti ki" released on 30 March 2019 as a tribute to the Indian Army and the Nation.At one point, she appeared in the Guinness World Records, which listed her as the most recorded artist in history between 1948 and 1987.
With an HPI of 61.74, Engelbert Humperdinck is the 2nd most famous Indian Singer. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Arnold George Dorsey (born 2 May 1936), known professionally as Engelbert Humperdinck, is a British pop singer who has been described as "one of the finest middle-of-the-road balladeers around". He achieved international prominence in 1967 with his recording of "Release Me". Starting as a performer in the late 1950s under the name "Gerry Dorsey," he later adopted the name of German composer Engelbert Humperdinck as a stage name and found success after he partnered with manager Gordon Mills in 1965. His recordings of the ballads "Release Me" and "The Last Waltz" both topped the UK Singles Chart in 1967, selling more than a million copies each. Humperdinck scored further major hits in rapid succession, including "There Goes My Everything" (1967), "Am I That Easy to Forget" (1968) and "A Man Without Love" (1968). In the process, he attained a large following, with some of his most devoted fans calling themselves "Humperdinckers". Three of his singles were among the best-selling of the 1960s in the United Kingdom. During the 1970s, Humperdinck had significant North American chart successes with "After the Lovin'" (1976) and "This Moment in Time" (1979). Having garnered a reputation as a prolific concert performer, he received renewed attention during the 1990s lounge revival with his recordings of "Lesbian Seagull" for the soundtrack of Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996), and a dance album (1998). The new millennium brought a range of musical projects for the singer, including the Grammy-nominated gospel album Always Hear The Harmony: The Gospel Sessions (2003) and a double album of duets, Engelbert Calling (2014). In 2012, Humperdinck represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku with the song "Love Will Set You Free". After marking more than 50 years as a successful singer, Humperdinck continues to record and tour, having sold more than 140 million records worldwide.
With an HPI of 53.69, Asha Bhosle is the 3rd most famous Indian Singer. Her biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Asha Bhosle (Marathi pronunciation: [aːʃaː bʱoːsle] née Mangeshkar; born 8 September 1933) is an Indian playback singer, entrepreneur, actress and television personality who predominantly works in Indian cinema. Known for her versatility, she has been described in the media as one of the most influential and successful singers in Hindi cinema. In her career spanning over eight decades she has recorded songs for films and albums in various Indian languages and received several accolades including two National Film Awards, four BFJA Awards, eighteen Maharashtra State Film Awards, nine Filmfare Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award and a record seven Filmfare Awards for Best Female Playback Singer, in addition to two Grammy nominations. In 2000, she was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in the field of cinema. In 2008, she was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian honour of the country. The Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged Bhosle in 2011 as the most recorded artist in music history.Bhosle is the sister of playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and belongs to the prominent Mangeshkar family. Renowned for her soprano voice range and often credited for her versatility, Bhosle's work includes film music, pop, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian classical music, folk songs, qawwalis, and Rabindra Sangeet. Apart from Hindi, she has sung in over 20 Indian and foreign languages. In 2013, she made her debut as an actress in the film Mai, and received critical acclaim for her performance. In 2006, Bhosle stated that she has recorded over twelve thousand songs in her career. a figure repeated by several other sources.
With an HPI of 53.62, Mohammed Rafi is the 4th most famous Indian Singer. His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
Mohammed Rafi (24 December 1924 – 31 July 1980) was an Indian playback singer and musician. He is considered to have been one of the greatest and most influential singers of the Indian subcontinent. Rafi was notable for his versatility and range of voice; his songs varied from fast peppy numbers to patriotic songs, sad numbers to highly romantic songs, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans to classical songs. He was known for his ability to mould his voice to the persona and style of the actor lip-syncing the song on screen in the movie. He received six Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award. In 1967, he was honored with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India. In 2001, Rafi was honoured with the "Best Singer of the Millennium" title by Hero Honda and Stardust magazine. In 2013, Rafi was voted for the Greatest Voice in Hindi Cinema in the CNN-IBN's poll.He recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films and in many Indian languages as well as some foreign languages, though primarily in Urdu and Punjabi, over which he had a strong command. He recorded as many as 7,000 songs throughout his career, spanning several languages and dialects such as Konkani, Assamese, Bhojpuri, Odia, Bengali, Marathi, Sindhi, Kannada, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Magahi, Maithili, etc. Apart from Indian languages, he also sang in some foreign languages, including English, Farsi, Arabic, Sinhala, Mauritian Creole, and Dutch.
With an HPI of 51.76, Kishore Kumar is the 5th most famous Indian Singer. His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.
Kishore Kumar (born Abhas Kumar Ganguly; pronunciation ; 4 August 1929 – 13 October 1987) was an Indian playback singer, musician and actor. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest, most influential and dynamic singers in the history of Indian music. Kumar was one of the most popular singers in the Indian subcontinent, notable for his yodeling and ability to sing songs in different voices. He used to sing in different genres but some of his rare compositions, considered classics, were lost in time. According to his brother and legendary actor Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar was successful as a singer because his "voice hits the mike, straight, at its most sensitive point".Besides Hindi, he sang in many other Indian languages, including Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Malayalam, Odia and Urdu. He also released a few non-film albums in multiple languages, especially in Bengali, which are noted as all-time classics.Kumar was also active in acting too. His first film appearance was in Shikari (1946), in which his brother, Ashok played the lead role. Kumar played his first lead in the Bombay Talkies film Andolan (1951). Although he got some acting assignments with the help of his brother, he was more interested in becoming a singer. After the success of films such as Ladki, Char Paise and Baap Re Baap that Kumar developed an interest in acting seriously, which resulted in him having successful films as the lead actor between 1955 and 1966. Kumar starred in Bimal Roy's Naukari (1954) and Hrishikesh Mukherjee's directorial debut Musafir (1957). As an actor, his best period was between 1954 and 1968. Kumar won 8 Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer out of 28 nominations and holds the record for winning and nominating the most Filmfare Awards in that category. He was awarded the Lata Mangeshkar Award by the Madhya Pradesh government in 1985. In 1997, the Madhya Pradesh Government initiated an award called the "Kishore Kumar Award" for contributions to Hindi cinema. In 2012, his unreleased last song sold for ₹15.6 lakh at the Osian's Cinefan Auction in New Delhi.
With an HPI of 51.28, M. S. Subbulakshmi is the 6th most famous Indian Singer. Her biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (Tamil: மதுரை சண்முகவடிவு சுப்புலட்சுமி;16 September 1916 – 11 December 2004) was an Indian Carnatic singer from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour and the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.
With an HPI of 50.29, Bhimsen Joshi is the 7th most famous Indian Singer. His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.
Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi ( (listen); BHEEM-SAYN joe-SHEE; 4 February 1922 – 24 January 2011), also known by the honorific prefix Pandit, was one of the greatest Indian vocalists from Karnataka, in the Hindustani classical tradition. He is known for the khayal form of singing, as well as for his popular renditions of devotional music (bhajans and abhangs). Joshi belongs to the Kirana gharana tradition of Hindustani Classical Music. He is noted for his concerts, and between 1964 and 1982 Joshi toured Afghanistan, Italy, France, Canada and USA. He was the first musician from India whose concerts were advertised through posters in New York City. Joshi was instrumental in organising the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival annually, as homage to his guru, Sawai Gandharva.In 1998, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. Subsequently, he received the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, in 2009.
With an HPI of 49.77, Kumar Sanu is the 8th most famous Indian Singer. His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Kedarnath Bhattacharya (born 20 October 1957), professionally known as Kumar Sanu, is an Indian playback singer. He is known as the King of Melody in Bollywood. He is famous for singing thousands of Bollywood Hindi Super Hit songs. Also as one of the most successful playback singers of 90s era of Bollywood. Apart from Hindi, he has also sung in other languages including Bengali, Marathi, Nepali, Assamese, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Manipuri, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Punjabi, Odia, Chhattisgarhi, Urdu, Pali, English and his native language Bengali, both in West Bengal and Bangladesh. He holds the record for winning five consecutive Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer from 1991 to 1995. He holds the Guinness Book of world records since 1993 for recording the maximum number of songs in a Single day. For his contribution to Indian cinema and music, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009 by the Government of India. Many of his tracks feature in BBC's "Top 40 Bollywood Soundtracks of all time".
With an HPI of 49.16, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam is the 9th most famous Indian Singer. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (4 June 1946 – 25 September 2020), also referred to as SPB or SP Balu or Balu, was an Indian playback singer, television presenter, actor, music composer, dubbing artist, and film producer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Indian singers of all time. He predominently worked in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi films and sang in a total of 16 languages.Balasubrahmanyam debuted as a playback singer on 15 December 1966 with the Telugu film Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna scored by his mentor, S. P. Kodandapani. In career spanning over five decades, he has won six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his works in four different languages – Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi; 25 Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for his work in Telugu cinema; and numerous other state awards from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments. In addition, he won six Filmfare Awards South and a Filmfare Award. According to some sources, he held the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer with over 50,000 songs in 16 languages. On 8 February 1981, he created a record by recording 27 songs in Kannada from 9 am to 9 pm. In addition, he recorded 19 songs in Tamil, and 16 songs in Hindi in a day, which has also been called a record.In 2012, Balasubrahmanyam received the NTR National Award from Government of Andhra Pradesh. In 2015, he received the Harivarasanam Award from the Government of Kerala. In 2016, he was honoured with the Indian Film Personality of the Year award at the 47th International Film Festival of India. He was a recipient of the Padma Shri (2001), Padma Bhushan (2011), and Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) (2021) from the Government of India. On 25 September 2020, Balasubrahmanyam died in Chennai after being hospitalized for over a month for complications due to COVID-19.
With an HPI of 47.15, Gangubai Hangal is the 10th most famous Indian Singer. Her biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Gangubai Hangal (5 March 1913 – 21 July 2009) was an Indian singer of the khayal genre of Hindustani classical music from Karnataka, who was known for her deep and powerful voice. Hangal belonged to the Kirana gharana.
Pantheon has 60 people classified as singers born between 1873 and 1999. Of these 60, 38 (63.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living singers include Engelbert Humperdinck, Asha Bhosle, and Kumar Sanu. The most famous deceased singers include Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, and Kishore Kumar. As of April 2022, 16 new singers have been added to Pantheon including Gauhar Jaan, Parveen Sultana, and Reshma.
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Which Singers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 22 most globally memorable Singers since 1700.