Khan, known for his unique style was born on October 13, 1948 in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistan. His father Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, was a musicologist, vocalist, instrumentalist, and Qawwal.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s first public performance was a studio recording broadcast as part of an annual music festival organized by Radio Pakistan, known as Jashn-e-Baharan.Khan sang mainly in Urdu, Punjabi and occasionally in Persian, Brajbhasha and Hindi.
Khan teamed with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack of The Last Temptation of Christ in 1985, with Canadian musician Michael Brook on the albums Mustt Mustt (1990) and Night Song (1996) and with Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder in 1995 on two songs for the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking. He also contributed to the soundtrack of Natural Born Killers.
His album “Intoxicated Spirit” was nominated for a Grammy award in 1997 for best traditional folk album.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan holds the world record for the largest recorded output by a Qawwali artist-a total of 125 albums as of 2001.
Khan was taken ill with kidney and liver failure on August 11, 1997 in London, England. While, on the way to Los Angeles in order to receive a kidney transplant, he died of a sudden cardiac arrest at Cromwell Hospital, in London, on August 16, 1997 at the age of 48.
TIME magazine’s issue of November 6, 2006, “60 Years of Asian Heroes”, lists Nusrat as one of the top 12 Artists and Thinkers in the last 60 years. Five documentaries have also been made on him.