Beloved singer Sunny Benjamin John, better known by the name SB John, has passed away in Karachi after a prolonged illness. He was 87 years of age.
The Karachi-based artist started his singing career from Radio Pakistan in 1950 after getting
inspiration from his grandfather. He rose to fame after he sang the famous Tu Jo Nahin Hai Tau Kuch Bhi Nahin Hai for the 1959 film Savera.
While he was capable of performing multiple genres, John’s true claim to fame were his ghazals. He was also honoured with the Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 2011 for his remarkable contributions to the field of music.
Prominent members of the music fraternity mourned his passing, which is a great loss for the country. Classical singer Ustaad Hussain Baksh Gullo told The Express Tribune, “SB John was among those singers of the country who earned fame solely through their hard work and struggle. He created a space for himself at a time when there were many big-name singers, such as Mehdi Hassan, Ahmad Rushdi, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Akhlaq Ahmed, proving his
talent in the presence of such legends. He was gifted with a beautiful voice that reached all over the world. I am very upset over his death, which is a huge loss for the music industry of the country.”
Renowned guitarist and composer Sajjad Tafu reflected on John’s versatility, as well as his wide reach which was not bounded by class. "SB John is among those singers of Pakistan who were not associated with a typical gharana of music, proving his talent at a time when singers from famous gharanas were incredibly popular. He was from the Christian community, learning music early on, which he later took on as a profession,” he said.
Tafu added, “He was equally popular amongst all classes of society and was the favourite singer of the youth of the country. He had an amazing voice and his renditions of romantic songs meant he had a huge fanbase in the younger generation.”
Singer Anwar Rafi also spoke of how the late singer had a talent that was truly legendary. He shared, “SB John was a beautiful soul and also a singing legend who did a lot for the music industry of Pakistan. He became incredibly famous after his song Tu Jo Nahin Hai Tau Kuch Bhi Nahin Hai released. He reached the peak of his career after that. He worked tirelessly throughout his career and was an ideal singer and example for all newcomers in the field of music.”