Today marks the 45th death anniversary of Abdel Halim Hafez, fondly Known as “Dark-Skinned Nightingale.”
Hafez cast a spell on his fans especially girls with his soul-stirring voice and has been one of the timeless favorites of Egypt’s cinema and music lovers.
The singer was born in Halaw village, in the Egyptian countryside in 1929 by the name Abdel Halim Ali Ismail Shabana, and has given some blockbuster hit songs, such as 'Hobk Nar', 'Asmr', and 'Tuba'.
Without any doubt, Hafez was one of the most successful, rare Egyptian stars, with over fifty songs and 16 movies to his name.
Throughout his life, Hafez, who was also dubbed the "Idol of the Masses", had many hit records, performed concerts at famous venues like Royal Albert Hall in London, and had many songs in the Cairo Opera House.
The Dark-Skinned Nightingale is also considered to be one of the greatest Egyptian musicians and singing Legends along with Umm Kulthum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Mohamed Fawzi, and Shadia.
The late star is notable for some of his seminal works, such as Lahn El Wafa’ (The Song of Faithfulness), Mawed Gharam (Love Rendez-vous), Fata Ahlami (The Man of My Dreams), Yom Men Omri (A Day of My Life) and his last film Abi Foq El Shagara (My Father Atop a Tree).
Despite his death forty-four years ago, he was and remains the most important and successful of Egyptian singers.
In addition to this, there are still many people who visit his home and his grave, writing on its walls words of love and longing, even complaints about the problems they face as if he were alive to listen.
With the overwhelming success of Abdel-Halim’s first breakthrough in the film Our Sweet Days (1955), Egyptian Cinema was liberated from much of its classicism, and pushed in a more youthful direction.
On this basis, the new cinema favored the vividness and fun of youth, who tended to dress casually, riding bicycles or visiting their sweethearts in boats, exactly as Hafez did in Days and Nights (1955).
The greatest cinematic success Hafez achieved resulted from his success as a singer in the first place, according to critics.
Moreover, Hafez’s participation in “Our Sweet Days” along with veterans Faten Hamama OmarEl-Sheriff and Ahmed Ramzy, established the idea of a younger cinema that prevailed afterward.
Thereafter, Hafez stabilized his cinematic success in several films such as “Ayam w Lialy” (Days and Nights), “Banat el-Youm” (Nowadays’ Girls), “El-Wisada el-Khalia” (The Abandoned Pillow), “El-Khataya” (The Sins) among others.
In 1977, the veteran star died at the age of 48 after battling a parasitic worm for several years.