The popularity of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s celebrated compositions endures even though the legendary qawwali artist is long dead. Rolling Stone included NFAK on their list of the 200 “best vocalists of all time,” recognising the renowned singer’s influence on the music industry.
The aforementioned article introduced him as “Shahenshah-e-Qawwali” and further referred to him as “an icon in the field of Qawwali, whose family’s musical tradition spans hundreds of years.”
The American magazine then emphasised the singer’s talent for capturing people’s hearts all over the world. “It’s simple to lose track of time and hear how, in the 1980s, when he started touring abroad and releasing music on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, his music quickly gained a global following. Among his several well-known admirers were Madonna, Eddie Vedder (with whom he collaborated on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack), and Jeff Buckley (who referred to the performer as “my Elvis” and studied Urdu in order to properly cover him) “the Rolling Stones wrote.
In the end, the magazine cited a famous saying of Khan from an interviewer in 1996, the year before his death. “When I sing, I sing with the depth of my heart,” read the quote.
On another note, popular Indian musician Lata Mangeshkar also claimed the 84th spot on the list. Rolling Stones defined her as an “empress of playback singers,” “the Melody Queen,” and “the cornerstone of Indian pop music.”
Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Billie Holiday, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Bob Marley, Usher, Chuck Berry, Stevie Nicks, Taylor Swift, and Michael Jackson were among the other singers who made the list.