Talal Maddah was a Saudi musician, composer and singer hugely popular across the Middle East for his melodious voice and heart-touching music.
He was known as the “golden throat” for his singing talent. In Saudi Arabia, he was fondly called “The Earth’s Voice.”
Maddah left an indelible mark on the Arabic culture and music of the 20th century. He was known for playing the Oud, a stringed musical instrument popular in the Middle East and North Africa.
Due to his talent for playing the Oud, Egyptian musician Mohammed Abdel Wahab gave him the title “Ziryab.” Ziryab was the chief entertainer in the Court of Cordoba and a great musician of his time who played a key role in developing medieval Eastern music.
Maddah was born on Aug. 5, 1940, in Makkah. He began his career in the late 1950s with the release of his first album “Wardak Ya Zaree Al-Ward” (Grower of Roses), which was the first Saudi emotional song to be aired on Saudi Radio.
He also starred in a movie “Fog Street” (1965) alongside Lebanese singer Sabah, and was also the first to perform on Saudi television, and the first Saudi to broadcast his songs from London, Damascus, Cairo, Germany, the Netherlands, Prague, Moscow, and other countries.
He worked on more than 80 albums and composed the songs of top Arab singers, including Mohammed Abdo, Warda Algerian, Faiza Ahmed, Samira Said, Raja Belmalih, Abadi Al-Jawhar, and Etab.
The Saudi singer passed away in August 2000 at the age of 60. He died of cardiac arrest during a live television performance on national TV.
On Sunday, Google celebrated the 78th birth anniversary of Maddah with a special Google Doodle displayed to Google users in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and much of the Middle East and North Africa.