He belonged to a family background with rich musical history, the Kalawant clan of musicians. Both his paternal uncle and father were dhrupad singers. The family of Mehdi Hassan moved to Pakistan after separation.
Life was not simple and for some time Mehdi Hassan had to struggle hard as an auto mechanic to earn livelihood for his family. Mehdi Hassan achieved his 1st break on Radio Pakistan Karachi in the year 1952. Gradually he made repute for himself and in the year 1962 popularity ultimately came to him when his ghazal “Gullon mein rung bharay” became extensively famous. From then, there was no looking back for the maestro; he was to rule the industry of music for years to come.
Mehdi Hassan was committed and passionate about poetry and music. His command over the several raags and his thorough comprehending of the poetry made his ghazals so remarkable. He gave a new dimension in the singing of ghazal. He made the ghazal in the raag which best complimented the mood of the ghazal. Today, no singer in the Asia can match up to his low notes. Mehdi was the primarily playback singer from the time period of 60s to the 80s. He also did many performances on TV and in private functions. Mehdi Hassan has achieved a vast number of awards both nationally and globally. Lata Mangeshkar the legendary Indian singer paying tremendous tributes to the Shahenshah-e- Ghazal Mehdi Hassan made comparison of his voice to that of Bhagwan (God).
Mehdi Hassan’s fame can be observed from this anecdote. On an occasion, while singing in the court of King Birendra of Nepal, Mehdi Hassan forgot a line of his ghazal, “Zindagi mein to sub he piyar kiya karte hain”; the King instantly got up and sang the line; an outstanding applause for the singer indeed.
The worst condition of health made him left singing but Mehdi Hassan has made a name for himself which will not be eradicated by time.