Famous 20th Century Playback Singers

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Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Playback Singers

 1 

Carroll O’Connor
4
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
Died: June 21, 2001

Carroll O'Connor was an American actor, director, and producer. In a TV career that spanned 40 years, O'Connor popularized several fictional characters, including Archie Bunker from the sitcom All in the Family, for which he received four Emmy Awards. In 1996, he was ranked 38th on the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list published by TV Guide.

Lata Mangeshkar
4
Birthdate: September 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Indore
Died: February 6, 2022

One of the most respected and best-known playback singers in India, Lata Mangeshkar is popularly known as the Nightingale of India. She had a long career of more than 60 years and was honoured with India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna..

 3 
Kishore Kumar
(Indian playback singer)

Kishore Kumar
4
Birthdate: August 4, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Khandwas, India
Died: October 13, 1987

A man of many talents, Kishore Kumar was an Indian actor, filmmaker, writer, music director, lyricist, and playback singer. One of the most popular Indian singers of his generation, Kishore Kumar sang in different genres and multiple Indian languages. In 1997, the Kishore Kumar Award was initiated for his contributions to Hindi cinema. Despite marrying four times, he remained a loner.

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 4 

Holly Robinson Peete
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 5 
Neha Kakkar
(Singer)

Neha Kakkar
12
Birthdate: June 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Starting her training in singing at age 4, Neha Kakkar later participated in Indian Idol but was eliminated before she could make her mark on the show. She later soared to fame with the track Second Hand Jawaani from Cocktail and never looked back. She has also performed in minor roles.

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
6
Birthdate: June 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India
Died: September 25, 2020

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was an Indian playback singer, music director, actor, television presenter, film producer, and voice-over artist. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted singers of his generation, Balasubrahmanyam received six National Film Awards in an illustrious singing career that spanned more than five decades. He was posthumously honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.

 7 

Donald O'Connor
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died: September 27, 2003
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 8 

Mohammed Rafi
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Amritsar, Punjab, India
Died: July 31, 1980
Legendary Indian playback singer Mohammed Rafi was known for his versatility. The winner of one National Film Award and four Filmfare awards, Rafi often collaborated with ace composer S.D. Burman. He also received the Padma Shri and sang in countless Indian and foreign languages, including Arabic, Persian, and Dutch.

 9 
Asha Bhosle
(Indian playback singer)

Asha Bhosle
5
Birthdate: September 8, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sangli, Maharashtra
Legendary Indian playback singer Asha Bhosle holds the Guinness record for the most recorded artist. The Padma Vibhushan-winning singer had initially started singing along with sister Lata Mangeshkar, another iconic singer, to make ends meet. Bhosle, a versatile artist, has sung in 20 languages and experimented with almost all genres.

 10 

Aubrey Peeples
2
Birthdate: November 27, 1993
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lake Mary, Florida, USA

 11 
Sid Sriram
(Playback singer)

Sid Sriram
2
Birthdate: May 19, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chennai district Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Born in Chennai, to a Carnatic music teacher mother, Sid Sriram later moved to the US with his family. The talented singer-songwriter is a Berklee College of Music alumnus and is known for his skills mixing pop/soul and Indian classical elements. His Indian playback credits include Adiye from the film Kadal.

 12 

James Darren
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1936
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

James Darren is an American actor, singer, and television director. He is well-known for his singing abilities; Darren's version of Goodbye Cruel World peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. He has also released several albums like This One's from the Heart and Because of You.

 13 
Liz Torres
(Actress)

Liz Torres
2
Birthdate: September 27, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 14 
Sunidhi Chauhan
(Singer, Actor)

Sunidhi Chauhan
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

A musical prodigy, Sunidhi Chauhan had started performing at events at age 4. Discovered by actor Tabassum, she quit school and plunged into a full-fledged music career, winning several reality shows. She then soared to fame with her playback singing in Mast and now has three Filmfare awards in her kitty.

 15 

Yuvan Shankar Raja
3
Birthdate: August 31, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chennai, India

Yuvan Shankar Raja is a music composer and singer-songwriter. He is credited with introducing hip-hop to the Tamil music industry and became one of the most sought-after Tamil composers in 2000s. In 2006, he won the Cyprus International Film Festival Award, becoming the first Indian composer to win the award. He has also won other awards like Filmfare Awards South.

 16 

Monali Thakur
2
Birthdate: November 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India

National Award- and Filmfare-winning singer Monali Thakur is best known for her hit tracks such as Moh Moh Ke Dhaage and Sawaar Loon. She first gained fame with Indian Idol 2 and later also acted in movies such as Lakshmi. She later secretly married a Swiss restaurateur she met on a trip.

 17 
Ed Ames
(Singer)

Ed Ames
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Malden, Massachusetts, USA

 18 
Udit Narayan
(Playback Singer)

Udit Narayan
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Baradah, Saptary, Nepal

Known for ruling the Bollywood playback scene in the 1990s, Udit Narayan has 4 National Awards in his kitty. Initially a singer on a Kathmandu radio station, he later moved to Mumbai. He soared to fame with the track Papa Kehte Hain and later scored many hits with singer Alka Yagnik.

 19 

Kavya Madhavan
2
Birthdate: September 19, 1984
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kasargod, Kerala, India

Kavya Madhavan made her film debut with Malayalam film Chandranudikkunna Dikhil as a ninth-grader. The Kerala State Film Award-winning actor later soared to fame with films such as Gaddama. She owns a charitable foundation and a textile shop. She has also released a collection of memoirs.

 20 
K. S. Chithra
(Playback singer)

K. S. Chithra
2
Birthdate: July 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thiruvananthapuram

Padma Shri- and Padma Bhushan-winning legendary Indian singer K. S. Chithra is also a 6-time National Award winner. Trained in Carnatic music, she earned a government music scholarship. A star in the South Indian music scene, she also gained recognition with her Hindi tracks such as Kehna Hi Kya.  

 21 
K. J. Yesudas
(Playback singer)

K. J. Yesudas
3
Birthdate: January 10, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Kochi, Kerala, India

Fort Kochi-born K.J. Yesudas is a major figure of Indian Malyali music. Known as Dasettan to his followers, the singer is an eight-time National Award winner and has the prestigious Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan in his kitty. He has also acted in a few regional films.

 22 
Chinmayi Sripada
(Playback singer, working mainly for the South Indian film industry)

Chinmayi Sripada
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1984
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Chinmayi Sripada is an Indian singer, voice actor, radio jockey, and TV presenter who works predominantly in the South Indian film and TV industry. Chinmayi is also credited with founding Blue Elephant, a translation services company, for which she serves as the CEO. Also known for her activism, Chinmayi Sripada has been an important figure in India's Me Too movement.

 23 
Jon Secada
(Singer-songwriter)

Jon Secada
2
Birthdate: October 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba

Jon Secada is a singer, voice actor, and songwriter. Having sold more than 15 million records, Secada is often counted among the best-selling Latin music artists. Apart from recording his own songs, he has also contributed as a songwriter for songs recorded by artists like Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Gloria Estefan. Secada has received two Grammy Awards so far.
 

 24 
Mukesh
(Singer who won National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his song "Kai Baar Yuhi Dekha Hai" from the film Rajnigandha)

Mukesh
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: August 27, 1976

 25 

Remya Nambeesan
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chottanikkara, India

Born to a theater artiste, Remya Nambeesan began her career as a child artist in films. As she grew up, she was typecast in roles of the village belle but turned around with the film Traffic. She has also gained fame for her singing in films such as Ivan Megharoopan and Bachelor Party.

 26 
Adnan Sami
(First Musician to Have Played the Santoor and Indian Classical Music on the Piano)

Adnan Sami
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

Adnan Sami is an Indian musician, singer, pianist, and music composer. Best known for his skills as a piano player, Sami was named the world's fastest keyboard player by Keyboard magazine. He is also widely regarded as the first person to have played Indian classical music on the piano. In 2020, he was awarded India's fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri. 

 27 

Dinesh Lal Yadav
2
Birthdate: March 2, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Dinesh Lal Yadav, also known as Nirahua, is one of the most popular Bhojpuri actors ever. He soared to fame with the movie Nirahua Rikshawala and once delivered 5 hits in a year. He later joined the BJP and contested against the former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav.

 28 
Nazia Hassan
(Singer, Guitarist)

Nazia Hassan
0
Birthdate: April 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Died: August 13, 2000

 29 
Ali Zafar
(Singer-songwriter)

Ali Zafar
2
Birthdate: May 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

 30 

Pritam Chakraborty
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Known for blending Indian classical music with contemporary undertones, Indian music director, composer, and record producer, Pritam Chakraborty is also a well-known singer and instrumentalist.  Beginning his career with ad jingles, he later partnered with Jeet Ganguly to compose music for Hindi films before going solo. He has won numerous awards for his work, concurrently helping budding musicians through his organization JAM8.

 31 

Kalabhavan Mani
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chalakudy, Kerala, India
Died: March 6, 2016

National Award-winning actor and singer Kalabhavan Mani was born into a family with modest means and later quit school after tenth grade. He once even worked as a autorickshaw driver and later began his entertainment career as a mimicry artist. Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum remains his most-loved film.

 32 
Amit Kumar
(Singer)

Amit Kumar
2
Birthdate: July 3, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sitamarhi, Bihar, India

Amit Kumar is an Indian music composer, playback singer, and actor. Amit Kumar, who has organized several live orchestra shows, is also credited with establishing a music production company called Kumar Brothers Music. Amit Kumar is also renowned for his association with one of the greatest composers of the Indian film industry, R. D. Burman.

 33 
Mika Singh
(Vocalist known for popular bhangra and pop songs such as "Dhinka Chika," "Dhanno," and "Singh Is King.")

Mika Singh
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Durgapur, West Bengal, India

Mika Singh is an Indian singer, rapper, and performer. Apart from contributing to the soundtrack of many popular films like Singh Is Kinng and Jab We Met, Singh has released many solo albums as well. He has also performed live at popular venues like The O2 Arena.

 34 
Vyjayanthimala
(Film actress, Politician)

Vyjayanthimala
0
Birthdate: August 13, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Triplicane, Chennai, India

Vyjayanthimala is an Indian actress and dancer who played a major role in the Hindi film industry during the 1950s and 1960s. One of the most popular actresses of all time, Vyjayanthimala is also known for her contribution to South Indian movies. She is the recipient of several awards, including Filmfare Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards at International film festivals.   

 35 
Manoj Tiwari
(Politician)

Manoj Tiwari
2
Birthdate: February 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Atarwalia, Bihar, India

One of Bihar’s greatest superstars, Manoj Tiwari had begun his career as a singer in the temples of Varanasi. The BHU alumnus has sung hits such as Jiya Ho Bihar Ke Lala. He later joined the BJP and became a Lok Sabha MP. He had also been the president of Delhi state BJP.

 36 

Imran Abbas
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Islamabad, Pakistan

 37 
Sadhana Sargam
(Playback singer who got immense popularity after her song 'Saat Samundar Paar' in the film Vishwatma)

Sadhana Sargam
2
Birthdate: March 7, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dabhol, Maharashtra, India

Sadhana Sargam is an Indian playback singer best known for recording nearly 15,000 songs in 34 Indian languages. In 2002, Sadhana Sargam became the first non-South Indian singer to receive the National Award for a song composed by a South Indian. She has also won other prestigious awards like Maharashtra State Film Awards, Lata Mangeshkar Award, and Gujarath State Film Award.

 38 
Alisha Chinai
(Playback singer, Singer)

Alisha Chinai
2
Birthdate: March 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ahmedabad

Known as the Queen of Indipop and India's Madonna, Alisha Chinai rocked the 1990s with her chartbusting hit Made in India. She also made headlines when she accused music director Anu Malik of sexual harassment. Kaate Nahin Katthe from the film Mr. India was one of her other big hits.

 39 
Zubeen Garg
(Singer and composer who has been well known in Assam and East India for over two decades since 1992.)

Zubeen Garg
2
Birthdate: November 18, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tura, Meghalaya

Zubeen Garg is an Indian music director, singer, composer, music producer, lyricist, film director, actor, scriptwriter, film producer, and philanthropist. Also an instrumentalist, Zubeen Garg plays 12 instruments including drums, guitar, mandolin, keyboard, and various percussion instruments. One of the highest-paid singers in Assam, Garg has also received several prestigious awards, such as Prag Cine Awards and a National Film Award.

 40 
Swathi Reddy
(Svetlana Reddy)

Swathi Reddy
2
Birthdate: April 19, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Far Eastern Federal District, Russia

Born to an Indian Navy officer in the Soviet Union, Swathi Reddy was initially named Svetlana but changed her name later. Starting her career as a TV host at 17, she later stepped into acting and eventually won a Filmfare for her role in the Telugu film Ashta Chamma.

 41 
Venkat Prabhu
(Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Playback singer)

Venkat Prabhu
1
Birthdate: November 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chennai

 42 
Mohammed Aziz
(Playback singer)

Mohammed Aziz
2
Birthdate: July 2, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Died: November 27, 2018

 43 
Neha Bhasin
(Singer)

Neha Bhasin
1
Birthdate: November 18, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

Neha Bhasin first gained the spotlight when she became one of the five winners of the Channel V show Popstars, thus becoming part of India’s first all-girl pop band, Viva. She is also an avid dancer and is known for her Bollywood tracks such as Kuch Khaas Hai from Fashion.

 44 
Usha Mangeshkar
(Singer, Composer)

Usha Mangeshkar
1
Birthdate: December 15, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Usha Mangeshkar belongs to the iconic Mangeshkar musical family of India and is the second-youngest child of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. She, and her famous siblings, Lata and Asha, once rocked the Hindi playback scene. Her song Mai Toh Aarti from Jai Santoshi Maa earned her a Filmfare nomination.

 45 
Sona Mohapatra
(Singer who first entered the public consciousness with her performances on the show Satyamev Jayate)

Sona Mohapatra
2
Birthdate: June 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cuttack, India

Sona Mohapatra is an Indian music composer, singer, and lyricist. She is best known for recording remixes of popular songs by famous artists like David Bowie and INXS. Although she is known for her musical career, Sona Mohapatra achieved national recognition when she appeared in a TV show titled Satyamev Jayate, which was hosted by popular Bollywood actor Aamir Khan.

 46 
Bill Lee
(Singer)

Bill Lee
0
Birthdate: August 21, 1916
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Johnson, Nebraska, United States
Died: November 15, 1980

 47 

Sangeetha Krish
1
Birthdate: October 21, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

 48 
Mohit Chauhan
(Playback singer, known for his work in Hindi films)

Mohit Chauhan
2
Birthdate: March 11, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, India

 49 
Nitin Mukesh
(Playback singer)

Nitin Mukesh
2
Birthdate: June 27, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Indian

 50 
Harshdeep Kaur
(Singer, Playback singer)

Harshdeep Kaur
1
Birthdate: December 16, 1986
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Delhi