He gave his first public performance at the age of 13, when he sang in Lahore. In 1941, Rafi made his debut in Lahore as a playback singer in the duet ‘Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee’ with Zeenat Begum in the Punjabi film ‘Gul Baloch'. His voice suited any genre of music be it a moving ghazal like Aap Ke Pehloo Main Aakar Ro Diye, a plaintive bhajan like O Duniya Ke Rakhawale, or a wild and whacky Shanker-Jaikishan composition like Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe.

He sang for Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar and Dev Anand with equal ease befitting each actor and his style.

Mohammad Rafi sang 4,516 Hindi film songs, 112 non-Hindi filmy songs, and 328 private (non-film) songs.

He was known for his altruistic behavior, which was exhibited on several occasions. The legendry singer was known to charge just a token amount as his fee for singing the songs of Music Directors who could not afford his regular charges. Many a times, he sang songs without charging a single penny.

In his glorious career, Mohammed Rafi won the coveted Filmfare Award as the best playback singer for six times. One of the prestigious civilian award Padmashri was also conferred on him by the Government of India.

Rafi passed away on July 31, 1980 after suffering a massive heart attack.