Satyam was very popular in the 70's, He is best known for some of the best Telugu melodies during the 70's.
Some of his mind blowing melodies are...
Kalise kallalona kurise poola vaana
Madhumasa velalo marumalle thotalo
Kurisindi vaana na gunde lona ni chooopule jalluga
Idepaata prathi chota Ilage paadukuntanu
Ye raagamo idi ye talamo
Sirimalle manasu jabilli velugu
Sri Chakra Shubha nivasa...... and many more
Chellapilla Sathyanarayana Rao was born in Parvathipuram, Srikakulam district. Before came into films he used to act in stage shows at Vijayanagaram, Like some of the great Cine stars he too ran away from home to Madras and then joined Music director Adinarayana Rao's orchestra. Later he worked as an assistant to TV Raju (who in turn had worked as an assistant to Adinarayana Rao).
His official debut as a full fledged music director was "Paala manasulu" in 1967, though he was credited as a music director in 1963 with NTR's "Savati koduku" movie.
Like R.D.Burman in the Hindi film industry, Satyam brought a revolutionary change in the Tollywood music history, starting from the late 60's he was one of the leading musicians who had mixed western with traditional Tollywood music with some fast beat cabaret songs as well as some best westernised melodious songs. And he was the music director for most of Krishna's James Bond movies.
On many occasions, S.P. Balu paid his humble tributes to Satyam for giving him some of the best songs (some of those songs were mentioned on the top of this page) that shaped up his career. Starting from the early 80's, he gradually lost competition to Music Director Chakravarthi and slowly went into oblivion at the end of his career. His last movie, Ankusam starring Rajasekhar was released after his death in 1989.
Unfortunately, he never got due recognition that he truely deserved (unlike K.V . Mahadevan and Ramesh Naidu). He was also equally popular in Kannada as well.
No doubt that Satyam is a legend in the Tollywood music history for connecting Traditional Tollywood to westrn music.