Sudhir Phadke was born in Kolhapur on 25 July 1919. His birth name was Ram Phadke, but he later changed his name to 'Sudhir' when he composed a song for HMV. Phadke acquired his primary tutelage in vocal classical music from the late Vamanrao Padhye in Kolhapur. After beginning his career with HMV in 1941, he joined the Prabhat Film Company as music director in 1946. During his long career, he composed music for many Marathi and Hindi films. He was also an immaculate playback singer. Phadke married his fellow singer Lalita Deulkar. Their son Shridhar Phadke (born 1950) is also a composer and singer.
Geet Ramayana, based on poet G D Madgulkar's verses, is one of Phadke's most popular works. The programme ran on All India Radio for a year, 1954–55. Stage performances of the program continue to draw huge crowds even today. Phadke set to music all 56 songs, and they were sung by different singers for radio (Manik Varma, lalita Deulkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Phadke himself, Vasantrao Deshpande, Ram Phatak, Usha Atre). All 56 songs were also recorded in Phadke's own voice.
In last days of his life, Phadke was involved in producing a Hindi film on the life of the Indian freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The movie Veer Savarkar was funded by public donations. Sudhir Phadke last sang and composed music for this movie.
He was also actively involved with Goa Freedom Movement and in post freedom fight of India Phadke was connected with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for over 60 years. He was the main inspiration and founder member of India Heritage Foundation in the United States.