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This article details the Indian-British music producer, for the Palestinian village in the West Bank see Biddu, Jerusalemmarker.


Biddu or Biddu Appaiah (born 1943 or 1944) is an Indian-British music producer, composer and song-writer who produced and composed a number of hit records during the early part of the British Disco scene of the mid-1970s. He lifted the careers of British Disco music stars Tina Charles, Carl Douglas, among others; and later found success producing several hits on the Indian subcontinent. He launched the career of Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan, and produced Indipop hits for a number of Indian acts, notably Alisha Chinai. From the mid-1970s, Biddu has also been producing his own pop instrumental albums as Biddu Orchestra.

Biddu, now 64 (as of 2008), is still active in the Indian and western music scene, producing albums which are more spiritual and eastern-oriented.

Early career

Biddu's originally hailed from Kodagumarker, Karnatakamarker state, Indiamarker, but he was brought up in the city of Bangaloremarker, India. He carries the clan name of Chendrimada. In the 1960s, as a youth, he developed a liking for the then new pop and rock music, as he said in a media interview, listening to pop hits played on the shortwave radio band of Radio Ceylon of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), which was then popular throughout Asia. He learnt to play the guitar and in his late teens and early twenties he frequented the clubs and bars of Bangaloremarker, and soon started a music band called 'Trojans' with a few friends. The band found limited success belting out cover versions of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Trini Lopez and hits of other western stars of the day, in the clubs of Bangaloremarker and also other Indian cities. The band, however, split after a while, leaving Biddu alone in the business, playing under the name 'Lone Trojan'.

Biddu had a penchant for even bigger things in popular music, and in 1967 decamped for England – with less money and a journey through the Middle East, which he mostly made on doles handed out for singing catchy numbers and playing guitar everywhere he could. A few months after leaving India, at the age of 23, Biddu arrived in England, the country where he had dreamt of making it big; as he said in an interview to the BBC, years later: "I didn't really know too much about England or anything - I'd just come here on the chance of meeting the Beatles and doing some music. Everything that I did had this danceable flavour".

In England, he supported himself doing odd jobs and also working as a chef in the American Embassy. He saved a few pounds before he decided to rent studio time and record his own single. The song, along with many other single-releases in the early 1970s failed to impress anyone, but gave new introductions in the music industry.

The Disco Era

In 1972, Biddu scored music for the UK spy thriller Embassy. Around this time, he also started working with UK-based Jamaican-born musician Carl Douglas on a 45 (rpm record) single I Want to Give you my Everything. While this song was intended for the A side, they cut a song for the B side, Kung Fu Fighting, in just 10 minutes. Later, at the insistence of A & R at Pye Records, Kung Fu Fighting was put on the A-side. Soon after release in 1974, Kung Fu Fighting became a worldwide hit, topping charts around the world, ultimately selling over 9 million copies worldwide. Shortly after, Biddu also produced Carl Douglas' debut LP (album) Kung Fu Fighter, which produced another major hit, Dance The Kung Fu.

In 1975, Biddu recorded and released the instrumental LP Blue Eyed Soul, and watched his own star rise even further as the album's first single, Summer of '42, climbed to #14 on the UK chart spending a full two months there.

Also in 1975, a friend introduced Biddu to Tina Charles, a singer who had had some success singing lead vocals for the group '5000 Volts'. The first single they worked together, You Set My Heart on Fire, clinched a recording deal with CBS. In 1976, the second single I Love to Love was a major hit worldwide. I Love to Love and the subsequent hit Dance Little Lady Dance sold millions of copies around the world, gave Tina Charles a worldwide audience and fame, launched her solo career and firmly established Biddu.

In 1976, Biddu produced his own Rain Forest LP, followed by Eastern Man in 1977, both credited to Biddu & His Orchestra.

In 1977, he worked on the Life LP of veteran Jamaican-born soul singer , which churned out two smash disco hits I'll Go Where your Music Takes Me and Disco Fever.

In early 1978, Biddu's own Journey to the Moon was a hit, peaking at #41 in the UK. also that year, he scored music for the English film The Stud.

Biddu worked with various musicians in Britain till the late 1970s, when Disco music slowly began to wane and funk music began taking centre-stage in popular music, taking with it Biddu's established place in the British music scene. but he soon found himself spinning out hits and working in another part of the world - his home country.

Qurbani & Introduction to the Indian Music Scene

In the late 1970s, western Disco was getting popular in Asia and in India – but there was no home-bred musician who could belt out a Disco tune or two with ease and authority. It was this reason that led established Indian actor and film-maker Feroz Khan to England and to Biddu, in 1979. Khan wanted to introduce a catchy song in his upcoming Hindi film Qurbani, in which the main score of the film was to be legendary Indian music duo, Kalyanji Anandji.

Biddu initially wasn't interested in composing a Hindi film song, but later took it up as he would say years later, "I thought it would keep my mum happy (back home in India)". About the same time Khan happened to come across 15 year old Nazia Hassan at a party in London. Khan later requested Hassan have an audition with Biddu. Biddu later signed her up for the song he was composing for Qurbani.

It didn't take a long time for Biddu to compose Aap jaisa koi for Qurbani. Critics said Biddu's tune and composition of Aap jaisa koi sounded very similar to the Tina Charles' hit Dance Little Lady Dance. As the girl, Nazia Hassan, had a nasal voice Biddu decided to backtrack it for an echo effect. The song which was recorded in London, was the first Hindi song to be recorded on 24 tracks. In 1980, Qurbani ran to packed houses in India, largely on the weight of Aap jaisa koi and another number Laila O Laila. Nazia Hassan became a teenage sensation. Aap jaisa koi was a massive hit in the subcontinent.

Riding on the massive popularity of the song and the film, Biddu decided to sign Hassan and her brother Zoheb up for a Hindi pop album, something hitherto not tried in India. Biddu modelled them on the then popular American brother-sister duo, The Carpenters. Biddu composed a few catchy numbers for Nazia and Zoheb for the album Disco Deewane. In 1981, the album was a massive hit across Asia, South Africa and some countries in South America, charting in 14 countries. The album became the biggest selling pop album in Asia. Nazia Hassan became a household name in the subcontinent. Biddu saw his stars rise in India.

Disco Deewane was followed by the production of three more heavy hitters; Star/Boom Boom in 1982 (the number Boom Boom from the album/film was a big hit), then the album Young Tarang 1984 two years later, before winding up 2 with the duo in 1987 with Hotline.

90's Indipop

Having spent nearly a decade with this pair, Biddu next turned his attention to Hindi vocalist Shweta Shetty, both writing and producing the Johnny Joker album in 1993. Then in 1995, came another sensational pop album, composed and produced by Biddu. Made in India - a remarkable dance album for Hindi pop/film playback singer Alisha Chinai. The album became the best selling Hindi dance album ever and featured a slick handful of Western styled videos - a sure selling point for India's newly-launched MTV set.

In 1996, Biddu made a brother-sister duo again with Shaan (Shantanu Mukherjee) and Sagarika Mukherjee, producing the Naujawan album. Biddu spent the rest of the 1990s working with a variety of musicians, including the Indian girl-group "The Models", and Sonu Nigam, as well as continuing his collaboration with Alisha Chinai on her Dil Ki Rani album. Into the new millennium, he produced two hit albums with Sansara, Yeh Dil Sun Raha Hai and Habib.

His own 1999 album Eastern Journey was an ambitious experiment which blended Indian pop with Western flair and strong, jazz elements.

Biddu also worked with Junaid Jamshed. Both of them worked in London and produced an outstanding album under the composition and lyrics of non other than Shoib Mansoor Sahab. Album name "Junaid of vital signs " Later the album name was changed to "NAAM" OR "TUMHARA AUR MERA NAAM" .This album includes the hits like Pehli Dharkan,Tumhara Mera Nam , Ab Jiya Na Jaye,Barish.

Experiments in fusion

His album Rainforest of 1976 received four Ivor Novello Awards.

He had a big hit in Japan working with top Japanese musician Akina Nakamori on the song The Look That Kills. Also a hit in France with Claude François on the piece Laisse Une Chance A Notre Amour.

In 2004, Biddu re-emerged with a new genre to soothe the soul of western audiences. the album Diamond Sutra, inspired by the tragic events of 9/11, has Sanskrit chants and a painting of Buddha on the front cover of the album, shaping Biddu's concern of the world in danger of self-destruction.

He is critical of American arrogance and what he describes as an "I, me, my society," but insists he is not trying to lecture or moralise through his music.

Biddu now lives in Spain with his English wife and two grown-up children.

Discography

Produced -

Biddu Orchestra
  • Rainforest (1976)
  • Funky Tropical (1977)
  • Journey to the Moon (1977)
  • Soul Coaxing / Nirvana (1977)
  • Journey to the Moon / Journey in the Rain (1977)


Albums
  • Blue Eyed Soul (1975)
  • Rain Forest (1976)
  • Eastern Man (1977)
  • Futuristic Journey (1978)
  • Diamond Sutra (2004)


Film Scores

External links




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