to remember me”), Aye Damiet Hozn (“Any tear of sadness”), and Mawood (“Destined”).
During his career, he was very popular and always performed in sold-out arenas and stadiums. Despite his popularity, he rarely released a studio album since he worked purely as a live singer. He also played many different instruments very well, including the oboe, drums, piano, oud, clarinet and guitar. He was involved in all aspects of the composition of his songs. Halim introduced many new instruments to the Arab World. He was known for his deep passion in his songs and his highly unique and rare voice. Halim performed in almost every country in the Arab World as well as outside the Arab World, including several concerts in Europe. Moreover, he sang uplifting patriotic songs for not only his native Egypt whom he dedicated tens of patriotic songs, but also some songs dedicated to other countries in the Arab World such as Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco during their revolutions and wars. He used to encourage and help many young artists and actors to pursue successful careers.
In Egypt, Halim is known as the “King of Music”, “The Son of Nile”, “The voice of the people”, “The son of the revolution”, and “King of emotions and feelings”.
His patriotic songs were the most frequent songs sung by the crowds during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. One of the revolutionaries in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 quoted that “the nightingale’s songs inspired us during the January 25 revolution”, he added “Although, he died 35 years ago, his songs will surely continue to inspire his fellow Egyptians for many generations to come”. His albums and CDs have sold more copies since his death than any other Arabic artist ever. His way of singing, the popularity of his songs and his behavior made him a role model for almost every modern singer in the entire region. Egyptians and also Arab people of all ages are fans of Halim. Halim is still remembered in the hearts of many people, even years after his death.
At the age of 11, Abdel Halim contracted schistosomiasis—a rare parasitic water-borne disease—and was afflicted by it for most of his career. Despite this, he remained positive and continued composing and performing his songs.
Although Abdel Halim never married, it was rumoured that he was secretly married to actress Soad Hosni for six years. This has never been proven to date. People who were close to both singers denied this rumor.
In 1969 Halim built a hospital in Egypt. He treated the poor, the rich, and presidents equally in the Arab World.
Abdel Halim established strong friendships with many contemporary presidents and kings of the Eastern world, including Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and King Hassan II of Morocco. He also had very close friendships with most Egyptian poets.
He has been in close relation to the Nasser regime. He sang directly to the Egyptian president in several occasions. Consequently, he has been accused by many to be a “servant” of the regime. Such songs that show his close ties with Nasser and his overall patriotism or devotion to the revolution can include “I Swear” and “never mind, mr president.”
Abdel Halim died of liver failure as a complication from Schistosoma mansoni (reference St. George’s University School of Medicine) on March 30, 1977 (a few months before his 48th birthday) while undergoing treatment for Bilharzia in King’s College Hospital, London. His funeral in Cairo was attended by millions of people – more than any funeral in the history of the Middle East, other than that of President Nasser. He had many more dreams and goals that he wanted to achieve and surpass and could have, but his early death prevented him from doing so. Some people committed suicide once they heard of Halim’s passing. It has been reported that at least four women committed suicide by jumping off the balcony during his funeral march. He was buried in Al Bassatin Cemetery in Cairo.
Abdel Halim Hafez’s song Khosara (Arabic: خسارة) received notice in the Western world in 1999 when elements from it were used for Jay-Z’s recording “Big Pimpin’.” Two complete bars from “Khosara” were rerecorded, not sampled, and used without permission from the song’s producer and copyright holder, Magdi el-Amroussi. Jay-Z’s use of an interpolation, rather than an actual sample, may allow him to avoid paying royalties for the use of the song.
Over 300 of Abdel Halim Hafez’s songs were recorded and he starred in sixteen classic and successful films, including “Dalilah” (دليله), which was the Middle East’s first color motion picture.
Along with Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Magdi el-Amroussi, Abdel Halim was one of the main founders of the Egyptian recording company Soutelphan, which continues to operate to this day as a subsidiary of EMI Arabia.
A feature film about his life, “Haleem”, was released in 2006, starring Ahmad Zaki in the title role, produced by the Good News Group. In the same year a soap opera “Al-andaleeb hikayt shaab” was produced in Egypt with Shadi Shamel starring as Abdel Halim. Shamel won the lead role in a televised competition.
On April 11, 2019 Egypt Independent announced that Carole Samaha was going to have a concert where she brings to life Abdel Haleem posthumously via a hologram to take part in her concert.
Some of Halim’s most popular songs are:
“Ahwak” (I adore you),
“Ala Ad El Sho’” (As much as the longing),
“Ala Hesb Wedad” (Wherever my heart leads me),
“Betlomooni Leih” (Why do you blame me),
“El Massih” (Christ),
“Fatet Ganbena” (She passed by us),
“Gana El Hawa” (The mood struck us),
“Zai El Hawa” (Like love),
his last song “Qari’at Al Fingan” (The coffee fortune-teller),
and the posthumously-released ‘Habibati Man-Takoon” (My Beloved Who Is She).