The Most Popular Singer In History

The most popular singer in the history of Earth will be performing in Atlanta on Friday night.


That’s not hyperbole. At 71, Bollywood film musical vocalist Asha Bhosle is thought to be the most recorded singer in history with over 50,000 songs to her credit. Her only competition in that category is her older sister Lata Mangeshkar, who supposedly held the record until 1991 or so.

Bhosle and her sister did not appear in the films. They served as what Bollywood calls “playback singers,” recording the vocal parts that would then be lip-synched on film by actors.

If you’ve ever watched a Bollywood musical film and thought to yourself “Jeez, they all sound the same,” it’s because they literally are the same. The majority of female parts in the majority of Bollywood films made thus far have featured the glorious, three-plus-octave singing voices of Asha Bhosle or Lata Mangeshkar. Because of India’s large population, Bollywood’s rapid film output, and Bhosle’s breakneck workpace and six decade career, Bhosle can rightfully claim to be the most popular singer in the history of the world. Or, if you prefer, in this world of lazy pseudo-journalism we call the blogosphere, I can certainly claim the title for her on this blog’s behalf.

Bhosle will be at the Fox on Friday night. Her performance will raise money for Indian villages hit by December’s tsunami.

3 Comments so far

  1. Cyanbane (unregistered) on June 15th, 2005 @ 8:01 pm

    So if she is 71 * 365 days a year, she sang 2 songs every single day of her life? Jeez.

  2. Andisheh Nouraee (unregistered) on June 15th, 2005 @ 11:28 pm

    According to the sleeve notes of the CD The Rough Guide To Bollywood Legends: Lata Mangeshkar, the typical workload was six-songs per day, every working day.

  3. Jessica (unregistered) on June 16th, 2005 @ 3:37 pm

    I have that CD too! Anyone who wants to hear Asha Bhosle at her finest, “Piya To Aab Tu Aaja” is just fantastic.

    Oh, wait, I have RGT Bollywood, not Bollywood Legends.

    There was a mega-concert last fall, supposedly including Shah Rukh, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukharjee, but $60 per ticket was too rich for my blood.

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