Shabbir Kumar, whose real name is Shabbir Shaikh, was born in Vadodara, Gujarat on 26th October 1948. He started his music career with the stage show Ek Shaam Rafi Ke Naam, a tribute to Mohammed Rafi. Shabbir claims that when he attended Rafi's funeral in 1980, his watch fell into Rafi's open grave. He interpreted the incident as a divine message that he was to be Rafi's successor.
Music director Usha Khanna gave Shabbir Kumar a break in the film Tajurba (1981). Shabbir got a major break, when the director Manmohan Desai, who was looking for a Rafi substitute, noticed him recommended him to music director duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal (L-P). Within a few days, L-P gave Shabbir Kumar songs in the film Coolie, which was released in 1983. Shabbir's first released film with L-P was Main Intequam Loonga.
Shabbir Kumar was first noted for a duet with Lata Mangeshkar, Shaam Hai Ye Kuch Khoyi Khoyi from Prem Tapasya (1983). Music director Anu Malik got him to sing for Rajiv Kapoor in his debut film Ek Jaan Hain Hum (1983). Shabbir Kumar was acknowledged as a leading playback singer with the film Betaab. Music director Rahul Dev Burman got him to sing all the five songs for Sunny Deol. Also, in 1983, Coolie was released, in which L-P had given him all the seven songs, six for Amitabh Bachchan, and one for Rishi Kapoor.
In the 1980s, Shabbir Kumar sang for all the leading music directors including Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Rahul Dev Burman, Chitragupt, Kalyanji-Anandji, Rajesh Roshan, Usha Khanna, Bappi Lahiri, Anu Malik, Ravindra Jain, Raamlaxman, Nadeem Shravan, Anand Milind, Jatin-Lalit, Uttam Singh. He did playback singing for leading actors such as Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Rishi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Mithun Chakraborty, Raj Babbar, Govinda, Chunky Pandey, Sanjay Dutt, Kumar Gaurav, Kamal Hassan, Rajnikant, Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Rajiv Kapoor and Akshay Kumar. Recently he sang for Ismail Darbar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and A.R. Rahman.
Shabbir then started concentrating on stage shows. He sang for many films and private albums in the year 2000, few hits were Ghaath (2000), Awara Paagal Deewana (2002), and Aan: Men at Work (2004), Recently Shabbir Kumar sang for Akshay Kumar in the movie Housefull (2010) which is a comeback for this legendary singer.
He has sung in different languages like Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Gujrati, Hariyanvi, Oriya, Malayalam and English. He is Awarded with 34 Gold Discs, 16 Platinum, 1 Kohinoor Disc and also received number of other awards. Received award as "The Best Playback Singer" in Dubai, U.A.E. "Mohammad Rafi Award" in Bombay first time ever in India, "Kalaa Ratan Award" from Honourable President of India Shri Giani Zail Singh as Best Playback Singer. His Contributions to Music industry over 6 thousand songs and more than 1500 Films in his portfolio.
He has performed several live concerts in UAE, Europe, South Africa, United States of America, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and many other places.
- "Mere Yaar Ko Mere Allah" from Dacait (1987), composed by Rahul Dev Burman
- "Jab Hum Jawan Honge" from Betaab (1983), composed by Rahul Dev Burman (duet with Lata Mangeshkar)
- "Tumse Milkar Naa Jaane Kyon" from Pyar Jhukta Nahin (1985), composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
- "Zindagi Har Qadam ek nayi" from Meri Jung (1985), composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
- "Gori Hai Kalaiyan" from Aaj Ka Arjun (1990)
- "Sochna Kya" from Ghayal (1990 film) (1990) (with Kumar Sanu & Asha Bhosle)
- "Zeehal-e-Musqeen" from "Ghulami" (duet with Lata Mangeshkar)
- "Pyar kiya nahi jaata" from "Woh Saat Din" (duet with Lata Mangeshkar)
- "Saari duniya ka bojh" from "Coolie"
- "Buri Nazarwale Tera" from "Mard"
- "Mubarak Ho Tum Sabko Haj Ka Mahina" from "Coolie"
- "O Maa Shero wali" from "Mard"
- "Tumhe apna saath banane se pahle" from Pyar Jhukta Nahin (1985), composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
- "Jab Jab Kisi Ladake Ko Kisi Ladaki Se" from Kala Dhanda Goray Log (1986), composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal (duet with Anuradha Paudwal)
- "Aana Jana Laga Rahega" from "Giraftaar"
- "Saajan Aajare" from "Aag Hi Aag"
- "O Radha Tere Bina" from "Radha Ka Sangam"
- "Gali Gali Badnaam Hogaya" from "Karamdaata"
- "Tu pagal premi awara" from "Shola aur Shabnam"
- "Kangna oye hoye kangna" from "Woh Saat Din"
- "I Don't Know What to do" from "Housefull" (2010) composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
- "Parvato Se Aaj Mai Takra Gaya" from Betaab
- "So Gaya Ye Jahan" From "Tezaab" with Nitin Mukesh
- "Singer : Shabbir Kumar". Retrieved 2007-07-06.