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Despite a fairly short career, singer/movie-actor Hafez was one of the most influential Egyptian stars of the 1950s and '60s. His mellow, resonant voice, subtle vocal style and notably clean intonation marked him out, along with a liking for long, seemingly endless musical phrases. When Mohamed Abdel Wahhaab switched from singing to composition, he pretty much stepped into his shoes. Born in 1929, Abdel Halim studied at Cairo's Institute of Arabic Music and the Higher Institute for Theatre Music, and began his career teaching and playing oboe before taking aim at vocal stardom. His first hit came in 1951, and he soon signed a contract with Abdel Wahhaab to sing his songs and appear in his films. During the 1960s, he started to sing colloquial poetry more colorful and meaningful and nearer to popular folk song than ordinary pop songs, and his work on these lines had a significant influence on popular song in general. He cofounded a film company and the Saut el-Fann record label in the early '60s, and remained a major star until he died in 1977 of Bilharzia, which he had caught as a child and which had begun to affect him intermittently from 1955 onward.
Abdel Halim Ali Shabana (Arabic: عبدالحليم علي شبانة) commonly known as Abdel Halim Hafez (Arabic: عبد الحليم حافظ) (June 21, 1929 – March 30, 1977), is among the most popular Egyptian and Arab singers and performers. In addition to singing, Halim was also an actor, conductor, business man, music teacher and movie producer. He is considered to be one of the Great Four of Arabic music (along with Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, and Farid Al Attrach). His name is sometimes written as 'Abd el-alim afez. He is known as el-Andaleeb el-Asmar (The Great Dark-Skinned Nightingale, Arabic: العندليب الأسمر). He is also known as an icon in modern Arabic music. His music is still played daily throughout the Arab world. His songs influenced the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
Early life 
Born in El-Halawat, in Al Sharqia Governorate, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt as Abdel Halim Ali Shabana, he was the fourth child of Sheikh Ali Ismail Shabana. He had two brothers, Ismail and Mohammed, and one sister, Aliah. His mother died from labour complications three days after giving birth to him - something that made people around him believe that he was bad luck. His father died five months later leaving him and his siblings orphaned at a young age. He lived in a poor orphanage for a period of time. He was later raised by his aunt and uncle in Cairo. During these years Abdel Halim was extremely poor.
Abdel Halim's 'one-of-a-kind' musical abilities first became apparent while he was in primary school and his older brother Ismail Shabana was his first music teacher. At the age of 11 he joined the Arabic Music Institute in Cairo and became known for singing the songs of Mohammed Abdel Wahab. He graduated from the Higher Theatrical Music Institute as an oboe player
Musical career 
While singing in clubs in Cairo, Abdel Halim was drafted as a last-minute substitute when the singer Karem Mahmoud was unable to sing a scheduled live radio performance in 1953. Abdel Halim's performance was heard by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, the supervisor of musical programming for Egyptian national radio. Abdel Halim took 'Hafez', Abdel Wahab's first name, as his stage-surname in recognition of his patronage.
In his early career's life, Abdel Halim was rejected by people for his new style of singing. However he persisted and was able to gain accolades later on. Then, he became a favorite singer among all generations. He also became Egypt's first romantic singer.
In collaboration with composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim went on to produce many popular love songs such as Ahwak ("I adore you"), Nebtedi Minen el Hekaya ("Where should we start the story"), and Fatet Ganbina( "She passed by us"). Hafez also worked with Egyptian poet Mohammed Hamza on songs including Zay el Hawa ("It feels like love"), Sawah ("Wanderer"), Hawel Teftekerni ("Try 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 in his life as he was purely 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 creation of his songs. Halim brought many new instruments to the Arab World. He was known for his deep passion in his songs and his highly unique and rare voice. He always sang from true and honest feelings deep inside. Halim did performances in almost every country in the Arabic world and some performances outside the Arabic world including several concerts in Europe. Also, he sung uplifting patriotic songs for not just Egypt, but many other countries in the Arab World such as Lebanon, Syria, Tunisa, Morocco and much more. He used to encourage and help many young artists and actors to become successful.
His Fame 
In the Arabic world, Halim is known as the "King of Arabic music", "The voice of the people", "The son of the revolution", and "King of emotions and feelings". His patriotic songs were the main and most frequent songs sung by the crowds during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. One of the revolutionaries in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 quoted "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 Arab artist ever. His way of singing, the popularity of his songs and his behavior made him a role model for almost every modern Arab singer. Egyptians and Arabs from all ages are fans of Halim. Halim is still remembered in the hearts of many people, even years after his death. He is widely considered among the most influential performers in the Arab World. The two composers Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Mohammed Al-Mougy both said, "Halim is the smartest person I ever knew". Mohammed Al-Mougy also added, "Halim is very original in all of his work".
Personal life 
At the age of 11, Abdel Halim contacted schistosomiasis—a rare parasitic water-borne disease—and was extremely periodically and painfully afflicted by it for most of his career. Despite this, he remained positive and never stopped creating and performing his songs. Nevertheless, he also was always there for his country despite the illness.
Abdel Halim never married, although rumors persist that he was secretly married to actress Soad Hosny for six years. This has never been proven by anyone. People who were close to both singers denied this rumor.
Halim often gave money and food to charity, and to the poor directly, all through his life. Halim frequently went to orphanages and hospitals all over the Middle East to donate money, teach music, and help the people there. In 1969 Halim built a hospital in Egypt to help people. He made the poor, the rich, and presidents all alike in the Arab world.
Abdel Halim established strong friendships with many contemporary presidents and kings of the Eastern world, including Gamel Abdul Nasser of Egypt, and King Hassan II of Morocco. He also had very close friendships with most Egyptian poets.
Abdel Halim died of liver failure on March 30, 1977 (few months before his 48th birthday) while undergoing treatment for Bilharzia in King's College Hospital, London. His death brought sadness and shock waves to the entire Arab world as a result, His funeral (in Cairo) was attended by millions of people – more than any funeral in Middle East history other than that of President Gamal Abdel Nasser He had many more dreams and goals that he wanted to achieve and surpass and could have, but his early death stopped him. Also some people committed suicide once they heard Halim has died. It is reported that at least four women committed suicide by jumping off the balcony during his huge funeral march. He was buried in Al Rifa'i Mosque (مسجد الرفاعي) in Cairo.
Abdel Halim Hafez's song Khosara (خسارة) received notice in the Western world in 1999 when producer Timbaland used elements from it 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 his 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 famous Egyptian recording company Soutelphan, which continues to operate to this day as a subsidiary of EMI Arabia. The company was founded in 1961.
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.
Abdel Halim was very successful in creating and leaving behind rich and meaningful Egyptian songs for the world.
Some of Halim's most popular songs are:
Ahwak (I adore you), Ala Ad Al Shok (As much as the longing), Ala Hesb Wedad (Wherever my heart leads me), Bitlimoni Leih (Why do you blame me), El Massih (Christ), Fatet Ganbena (She passed by us), Gabbar (Arrogant), Sawwah (Wanderer), Mawood (Destined), his last song Qariat Al Fingan (The coffee fortune-teller), and the posthumously-released Habibati Man-Takoon (Who is my beloved)