Mehdi Hassan: ‘Voice of God’ transcends to heaven

Mehdi Hassan the living legend of Pakistan , was considered one of the most  successful  ghazal singers of Pakistan He was born on July 18,1927  in a village called Luna in Rajhistan. He was classically trained in music by his father Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both well respected classical musicians. 

Hassan started his career as a radio singer in1957 ,it was the time when Ustad Barkat Ali, Akhtar Begum and Mukhtar Begum were the most prominent singing icons of radio and it was considered impossible to find opportunities for a new singer . Mehdi Hassan was encouraged by the greats of his time and continued his efforts. Mehdi Hassan had a natural spark and  came from a strong musical background ..He started singing ghazals on part time basis but eventually it became his passion . He later went on to become one of the leading playback singers of the country. 

Hassan tried different styles of music and there was a time in Lollywood when a Lollywood production was considered  incomplete without the voice of Mehdi Hassan. Due to his remarkable commercial and artistic success he was titled ShahenShah-e-Ghazal (The King of Ghazal singing). 

King of Ghazal also enthusiastically played the role of a cultural ambassador as he visited India several times and in 2009 sang a duet with Lata Mangeshkar .  Hassan’s style of singing was followed by many other singers   all over the world. Legendary Indian singer LataMangeshkar once famously said that Hassan had the voice of god (Bhagwan). Hassan received Tamgha-e-Imtiaza, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz in recognition for his services from the Government of Pakistan. 

During the last few years Mehdi Hassan’s health has significantly deteriorated which has effectively ended his music career, according to news reports he is currently in critical condition and has been placed on life support.  His art brought joy to us and his voice enlivened our time in a way that was very special and unique. In his prime Hassan mesmerized millions in the subcontinent and all over the world, now all we can do is wish and pray for his health.

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A fine lady and human being ….. Donna Summer

Summer died on the morning of May 17, 2012, at her home in Englewood, Florida at the age of 63.

She had been diagnosed with lung cancer not related to smoking, reportedly being a non-smoker. She believed she contracted the illness by inhaling toxic particles following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. 

Summer is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano, their daughters Brooklyn and Amanda, as well as her daughter Mimi from a previous marriage. 

Her funeral was held in Nashville, Tennessee on May 23, 2012. Her body was buried in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.

Donna Summer’s memorial made by fans in the Castro District, San Francisco

Singers and music industry professionals around the world reacted to Donna Summer’s death.

Gloria Gaynor, a famous disco performer during the late 1970s , said that she was “deeply saddened” and that Donna was “a fine lady and human being.” Gaynor said she was devastated by the death of her longtime friend, and that she had not known about Summer’s cancer.

Harry Wayne Casey of KC and the Sunshine Band said he and Donna “ran in the same circles and are part of the same generation.”

Liza Minnelli said, “She was a queen, the queen of disco, and we will be dancing to her music forever.” She said that her “thoughts and prayers are with her family always.”

Dolly Parton said, “Donna, like Whitney, had one of the greatest voices ever. I loved her records. She was the disco queen, and will remain so. I knew her and found her to be one of the most likable and fun people ever. She will be missed and remembered.”

Janet Jackson wrote that Donna “changed the world of music with her beautiful voice and incredible talent.”

Barbra Streisand wrote: “I loved doing the duet with her. She had an amazing voice and was so talented. . . It’s so sad.”

Quincy Jones wrote that Donna’s voice was “the heartbeat and soundtrack of a decade.”

Aretha Franklin said, “It’s so shocking to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. In the 70s, she reigned over the disco era and kept the disco jumping. Who will forget ‘Last Dance.’ A fine performer and a very nice person.”

Chaka Khan said: “Donna and I had a friendship for over 30 years. She is one of the few black women I could speak German with and she is one of the few friends I had in this business.”

Gloria Estefan wrote that “It’s the end of an era,” and posted a photo of herself with Summer.

Elton John said, “I’m so sad. This woman was the queen of disco and so much more. Her records sound as good today as they ever did. That she has never been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a total disgrace, especially when I see the second-rate talent that has been inducted. She is a great friend to me and to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and I will miss her greatly.”

United States President Barack Obama said: “Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Donna truly was the ‘Queen of Disco.’ Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Donna’s family and her dedicated fans.”

Donna Summer was honored at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards ceremony.

Singer Natasha Bedingfield honored Summer, calling her “a remarkable woman who brought so much light, and who inspired many women, including myself through her music. And if we can remember her through her music, this will never really be the last dance.” After her statement, she began to sing the “Last Dance”, Summer’s song that received an Academy Award. As she sang the song, photos of Summer were displayed on a screen overhead.

Fans paid a tribute to Donna by leaving flowers and memorabilia on her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A few days after her death, her album sales increased by a 3,277 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard reported that the week before she died, Summer sold about 1,000 albums. After her death, that number increased to 26,000.

may God bless the very fine soul….. Donna Summer

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