He was born as Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam into an orthodox Saivite family on June 4, 1946 in Konetammapeta (then in Madras Presidency and now in Andhra Pradesh). He is the second son in a large family of three sons and five daughters. His father S. P. Sambamurthy was a well-known exponent of Harikatha and his sister S.P. Sailaja is a former actress-singer in Telugu.
Balu took to singing as a hobby during his childhood. He developed an interest in music very early in his life, and had studied notations and learnt to play instruments such as harmonium and flute on his own while listening to his father. His father wished that Balu should become an engineer which brought him to Ananthpur, where he enrolled for the AMIE course in JNTU. Meanwhile, he also pursued his hobby and won awards at many singing competitions. From there he had identified as a good singer in annual, college functions where he use to sing and then referred and recommended by his friends for Madras, to sing.
Balusubrahmanyam took to singing as a hobby during his childhood. He developed an interest in music very early in his life, and had studied notations and learnt to play instruments such as harmonium and flute on his own while listening to his father.He is also a classical singer,learnt classics in his early childhood with his mothers co operation. He refines in carnatic music. His father wanted Balu to become an engineer; this brought him to Ananthpur, where he enrolled for the Engineering course in JNTU. Later he discontinued the course due to typhoid and then joined AMIE. Meanwhile, he also pursued his hobby and won awards at many singing competitions. There he was identified as a good singer in annual college programmes where he used to sing. Some friends recommended that he sing in Madras and provided him with referrals.
In 1964, a Madras-based Telugu Cultural Organisation, organized a music competition for amateur singers. Balu won the first prize, and that proved a turning point in his life. Music director SP Kodandapani took him under his wing. Offers then poured in from Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam movies.
When he was 21, he fell in love with the daughter of the owner of the house he was staying on rent. His parents objected to their union as the girl was of same “Gothram” (lineage), as this was prohibited in conservative Brahmin families. They eloped and got married at Simhachalam, Andhra Pradesh, accompanied by Ilaiyaraaja,Bhaskar,Anirutta and Gangai Amaren, who were his best friends. His wife’s name is Savithri. The early days of the couple at Chennai was very difficult and tough. The couple have two children namely Pallavi and Charan, who have a production company named Capital Film Works. Charan’s voice almost resembles S.P.B’s voice.
Before he became a full fledged cinema singer, Balu was the leader of a light music troupe that comprising
- Anirutta, who was working in Corporation and was the harmonium artist
- Ilaiyaraaja who joined the group as Guitarist and then moved over to harmonium after Anirutta became busy in his regular job
- Baskar, Ilaiyaraaja’s brother who was in charge of Percussion
- Gangai Amaran another brother of Ilaiyaraaja who was the Guitarist after Ilaiyaraaja moved over to Harmonium.
A gifted singer, he is highly regarded for his incredible vocal range, deep rich voice, and mastery of style, technique and control. These qualities allowed him expression across various genres of Indian music, and he has been highly sought after by many of India's film music composers. His approach to singing is methodical; he perseveres to understand the full meaning of the songs that he sings (many of which are very poetic) and the settings in which these songs are couched in order to most effectively match their requirements with his vocal delivery.S.P.B., though was very young, started singing for many different language films. As he became very busy, at times he used to sing even 17 songs in 12 hours at the recording theatre. He has also sung in Sanskrit and some regard his pronunciation of this language to be very good. Most of the introduction songs in Chiranjeevi and Rajinkanth films are sung by SPB only. Most people feel that Balasubrahmanyam's voice most suits Kamal Haasan. Sometimes, people cannot even figure out if it is Kamal singing or Balu singing or even Kamal talking or Balu talking. In the case of Telugu movies, he just changes his voice to suit the hero acting in the film. For eg., Nagarjuna, his dad Akkineni Nageswara Rao, N.T.R., Krishna and many others.
He has performed both the popular and classical music of India. For example, the songs he performed in the films Sankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam, Rudra Veena were based on Carnatic classical music, and the song Umandu Ghumandu in the movie Ganayogi Panchakshari Gavayi was based on Hindustani classical music.Many used to say that "He has a classical mist" but he never took the credit for classics saying he is just a newborn in classics as its a vast ocean & he just had a mouthful of it.
He virtually monopolised playback singing for more than 30 years in the Telugu, Kannada and Tamil cinema. His contemporary Dr. K.J.Yesudas monopolised the Malayalam music industry. SPB sang only a few songs in Malayalam. Although Yesudas' voice was regarded more suitable for sad songs in Tamil, SPB has also sung some evergreen sad songs in Tamil such as 'Naanum unthen uravai','Nenjukkulle' and 'Kuyilappudichu'. He hosts a popular TV show in Telugu called Paadutha Theeyaga on E-TV, Paadalani Undi on MAA-TV , and a kannada show Ede Thumbi Haaduvenu on 'E-TV Kannada' and Tamil show 'Ennodu Paattu Paadungal' on JAYA-TV. He also anchors a music show called "Sunada Vinodini" in TTD Channel
Balasubrahmanyam made his debut in film music as a singer in Dec 15,1966 with Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, a film scored by his mentor Kodandapani. He has sung more than 39,000 songssince in more than 5 different Indian languages including Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam. However, he has sung most of his songs in Telugu. He holds the Guinness record for having sung the most number of song recordings by any singer (the record for a female singer is held by Lata Mangeshkar).
Awards for being Best Singer
- The Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu Government in 1981
- Tamil Nadu Government Award - received 3 times
- Film Fans' Association (Madras) Award (oldest association in the country) - received 20 times
- September 1, 2002 Life time Achievement Award "Play back King", conferred during TVS Victor Aalaapana Music Awards function for the years 2001 & 2002, at Hyderabad
- August 5, 2002 "Dr. Bezawada Gopala Reddy Award", given during a function in Nellore
- April 7, 2002 Delhi Telugu Academy's 'Rashtriya Vikas Shiromani Award (Life time)' in 2002 on the occasion of 'Ugadi 2002', held in New Delhi
- 2002 Swaralaya-Kairali-Yesudas award
- 2001 Sangeeta Ganga award
- 2006 Raja-Lakshmi Award from Sri Raja-Lakshmi Foundation, Chennai
- 2006 Best Playback Singer from Vijay TV, Reliance Mobile Vijay awards
- Mia Tansen Award Sur Singar Sanjad (Bombay) for best classical rendition of a song from 'Tere Payal Mere Geeth' composed by Naushad Sab
- Innumerable Awards from Magazines & Associations fostering films
- 2007, Basavashree Award - Karnataka Government 
- 2007, A.P.Cinegoers Association Award for best Singer for Sri Bhagavatham (Serial in ETV).
- 2008, Kannada Rajyothsava Award. Presented on 1-Nov-2008.
Film Fare Awards
- Mozhi - 2007 - Tamil
- (Dil Deewana) Maine Pyar Kiya - 1989 - Hindi
Film Fare Nominations ( Hindi films )
- (Tere Mere beech Mein)Ek Duje keliye - 1981
- (Tumse Milne Ki Tamanna Hain)Saajan - 1991
- (Pehla Pehla Pyar Hain)Hum Aapke Hain Kaun - 1994
As an Actor
|1969||Pellante Noorella Panta|
|1971||Mohammed Bin Tuglaq||Tamil||Cho Ramaswamy||Guest role in a song|
|1980||Pakkinti Ammayi||Telugu||Friend of Chandra Mohan|
|1982||Malle Pandiri||Telugu||Jandhyala||Challa Venkatramaiah|
|1987||Manadil Urudi Vendum||Tamil||K. Balachander||Kavithalaya Films||As a Doctor|
|1990||Keladi Kanmani||Tamil||Vasanth||A. R. Rangaraj (primary character)|
|1990||Palai Vanna Ragangal||Tamil|
|1992||Koteswaran||Tamil||Father of Hero|
|1993||Thiruda Thiruda/Chor Chor||Tamil/Hindi||Mani Ratnam||Mani Ratnam||CBI Officer|
|1994||Kaadalan/Premikudu/Humse Hain Muqabla||Tamil/Telugu||Shankar||K. T. Kunjumon||Father of Prabhu Deva|
|1994||Ullasam||Tamil||Father of Ajith Kumar|
|1996||Kaadal Desam/Prema Desam/Duniya Dilwalon Ki||Tamil/Telugu/Hindi||Kathir||Father of Tabu|
|1996||Minsarakanavu?Sapnay||Tamil/Hindi||Rajeev Menon||AVM||Father of Aravind Swamy|
|1996||Pavithra Bandham||Telugu||Father of Venkateseh|
|1996||Avvai Shanmugi||Tamil||K.S.Ravikumar||Guest role as doctor|
|1997||Rakshagan||Tamil||Praveenkanth||K.Kunjumon||Father of Nagarjuna|
|1997||w/o Vara Prasad||Telugu||Grand Father of Vineet, Ramabhadra Raju|
|1998||Bharathan||Tamil||Brother of Hero Vijayakanth|
|1998||Paattu Paadavaa||Tamil||Hero cum mentally challenged person|
|1999||Aaro Pranam||Telugu||K Veeru||Father of Vineet|
|1999||Paadutha Theeyaga||Telugu||Father of Heroine|
|2000||Goppinti Alludu||Telugu||Father of Bala Krishna|
|2000||Manasu Paddanu Kanni||Telugu|
|2000||Priyamaanavale||Tamil||K. Selvabharathi||Father of Vijay|
|2001||Chirujallu||Telugu||Shriram Balaji||Father of Richa|
|2002||Indra||Telugu/Hindi||Vyjayanthi Movies||As Dr.SPB|
|2003||Magic Magic/Chota Jadugar||Tamil/Hindi||Jose||Navodaya||As a Magician|
|2003||Fools||Telugu||Dasari Narayana Rao||Guest Role|
|2006||Mayabazaar||Telugu||Mohana Krishna||RKK Films Banner||As Lord Kubera|
|2006||Roommates||Telugu||AVS||Visu Films Pvt Ltd||As himself|
|2007||Yen Uyirinum Melana||Tamil|
|Mangalyam Tanthu Naanena||Kannada|
|1990||Sigaram||Tamil||Kavithalaya Films||As a Music Director|
|Thalai Vaasal||Tamil||As a college Principal|
|Uyala||Telugu||S.V.Krishna Reddy||As a Doctor|
As a Music Director
|1977||Kanya Kumari||Telugu||Dr.Dasari Narayana Rao||Sarigama Arts|
|1979||Captain Krishna||Telugu||K.S.R. Das|
|1979||Ra Ra Krishnayya||Telugu|
|1979||Toorpu Velle Railu||Telugu|
|1980||Hum Paanch (Background Score)||Hindi||S.K. Films|
|1984||Seethamma Pelli||Telugu||Muddu Art Movies|
|1985||Bangaru Chilaka||Telugu||Maheswari Movies|
|1985||Jockey||Telugu||Muddu Art Movies|
|1985||Kongumudi||Telugu||Raghavendra Cine Creations|
|1985||Mayuri||Tamil||Singitam Srinivasa Rao||B.R. Creations|
|1985||Mayuri||Telugu||Singitam Srinivasa Rao||Ushakiran Movies|
|1985||Muddula Manavaralu||Telugu||Jandhyala||Muddu Art Movies|
|1986||Maghadeerudu||Telugu||Shyam Prasad Arts|
|1986||Naach Mayuri||Hindi||Lakshmi Productions|
|1986||Padamati Sandya Ragam||Telugu||Jandhyala|
|1987||Gouthami||Telugu||Radha Madhava Films|
|1987||Lawyer Suhasini||Telugu||Jayakrishna Combines|
|1988||Chinnodu Peddodu||Telugu||Relangi Narasimha Rao||Sridevi Movies|
|1988||Neeku Naaku Pellanta||Telugu||J.J. Movies|
|1988||Oh Bharya Katha||Telugu||Ushakiron Movies|
|1988||Ramanna Shyamanna||Kannada||Vasu Chitra|
|1989||Vivaaha Bhojanam||Telugu||J.J. Movies|
|1992||Jaithra Yaatra||Telugu||Sravanthi Movies|
|1993||Muddina Maava||Kannada||Vijaya Sridevi Combines|
Did you Know?!!
- In the early 90's S.P.B. did many bollywood assignmenst in (hindi). composers like Ram-Laxman & Nadeem-Shravan regarded his voice perfect for Salman Khan.
- Besides playback singing, Balasubramaniam is also the chairman of Kodandapani Audio Labs, Chennai.
- In the 80's & early 90's S.P.B. worked with composers like Laxmikant Pyarelal, R.D.Burman, Bappi Lahiri, Anand Milind, Nadeem Shravan, Raam Laxman, A.R. Rehman, Anu Malik, Jatin Lalit, M.M.Keervani (Kreem), Naushad, O.P.Nayyar,Nikhil Vinay, Ravindra jain & many others.
- He sang for Kasinadhuni Viswanath,Chiranjeevi, Rajnikanth, Salman Khan, Kamal Hassan, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff & also for Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Sanjay Dutt & Vinod Khanna & Akshaye Kumar.
- He sang for more than 170+ films & 1 Private Album in Hindi.
- He is the only singer to sing in a gond language( a language spoken by tribal of jagdalpur(MP)