1.Ilaiyaraaja’s real name is Gnanadesikan. His father changed his name to Rajaiya after he joined school. In 1976, Tamil producer Panchu Arunachalm added ‘Ilaya’ as prefix to avoid confusion as there was another popular music composer A.M.Raja
2. In 1993, He became the first Asian to compose a full symphony performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
3. He is a gold medallist in classic guitar from Trinity College of Music London
4. He has composed more than 4500 songs, sung more than 400 and provided background score for over 1000 films.
5. His composition “rakkama kaiya thattu” from the movie Thalapathi was placed 4th in the world’s top most popular songs according to an international poll conducted by BBC in the year 2003.
6. He was placed 9th in the list of 25 greatest film composers in cinema history by Poplar World Cinema Portal
7. He was declared as the “greatest music composer of India” in a poll conducted by CNN-IBN in the year 2013 with a maximum vote of 49%
8. He has composed music for 1996 Miss World pageant which was held in Bangalore
9. Although many of our Indian composers were accused and hated by music addicts for unofficially sampling international artists, His song “unakkum enakkum” was sampled by Will.i.am from the band Black Eyed Peas for his song Elephunk theme and also “kattukuyilu was sampled by M.I.A. for the song bamboo banga
10 There is always a debate in twitter and fb on AR Rahman Vs Ilayaraaja. But AR Rahman usually says “stop comparing me with my guru”. In his initial years in music industry AR Rahman had worked as a keyboardist in the troupe of Ilaiyaraaja and Ilaiyaraaja rented musical instruments that once belonged to the former’s father.