He was born in Punjab and the gloriousness of his voice reflected his roots. He learnt Hindustani Classic music but became a popular name because of his association with Bollywood. He sang a lot of songs for All India Radio and got his first commercial break in 'laila Majnu'. He sang more than 26,000 songs and was given the Padma Shri for his contribution to Indian Cinema and got the National Award twice. He received the Filmfare Award several times.