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Persian pop music

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Title: Persian pop music  
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Subject: Persian traditional music, Iranian folk music, Faramarz Aslani, Middle Eastern music, Pop music
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Persian pop music

Music of Iran
General topics
Specific forms
Religious music
Traditional music
Regional music

Persian pop music (also known as Iranian pop music or Parsipop) refers to pop music with songs in the Persian language or other regional languages of Iran. Although Persian pop music originated in Iran, it is also listened to throughout other Persian-speaking countries like Tajikstan and Afghanistan, and notably by the Afghan and Iranian diaspora in America and Europe.


The origin of Iranian pop music goes to the Qajar dynasty in the 19th century. With the invent of radio in 1930, and after the Second World War in 1945, Iranian pop music fully grew, matured and developed.[1]

Viguen Derderian, king of Persian pop and Persian jazz.
Persian pop music was developed by the 1950s, with the emergence of the stars such as Viguen. Viguen became one the most popular pop singer of this time period, and was referred to as the king of Iranian pop and the "Sultan of Jazz".[2]

Different types of pop music in Iran, including rumba, tango and waltz music, were made in this period.

The Golden Age of Persian Pop Music

Haydeh and Anoushirvan at the National Iranian Radio and TV, Tehran, 1975
Googoosh in concert (2010), one of the notable faces of this era who continued their career.
In the 1970s, a revolution was formed in the music industry in Iran, using indigenous instruments and forms and adding electric guitar and other imported characteristics.

The Golden Age of Persian pop music did not last very long, though, and was banned within Iran after the 1979 revolution.

Some of the top figures of the golden era of Iranian pop music include (in alphabetical order):

After the Revolution of 1979

After the National Revolution of Iran in 1979, unlike what the revolution meant to cause, pop music, such as other fields of art that were contrary to the standards of the new government, was banned and completely disappeared from the scene.

Many Iranians immigrated to foreign countries, especially Los Angeles in the United States, and many continued to sing in exile. Many of the popular music TV channels, radio channels and websites operates outside Iran (aired through various satellites). These broadcast companies play a very important role in promoting and connecting Iranian pop artists to the Iranians all over the world.[3]

In the 1990s, officials of the new government decided to produce and promote a "decent" Persian pop music (or the music which is closer to the standards of the new government) to compete with the informal Persian pop music, and also with the music produced in California by the immigrated singers (so-called "LA-type" music). Ali Moallem (a poet)[4] and Fereydoun Shahbazian (a musician) headed a council at the IRIB that supervised the revival of domestic pop music.[5]

Shadmehr Aghili was one of the first singers who got significant support, including promotion by national TV, to produce new Persian pop songs. He was very skilled at playing violin and guitar and he was a very talented singer. He became a very successful and popular musician and singer in Iran, but eventually, he immigrated to Canada, and then moved to Los Angeles, and continued his career out of Iran.

As a result of easing cultural restrictions within Iran, under presidency of Khatami, a number of Persian pop singers have emerged from within the country. Ever since the current administration took office, the Ministry of Ershad has adopted a different policy, mainly to make it easier to monitor the industry. The new policy included loosening restrictions for a small number of artists, while tightening it for the rest. Even though it has become more difficult for artists to get an album permit, the number of album releases has increased nonetheless.[6]

At the end of 2009, Sirvan Khosravi was the first (domestic) Iranian artist to get high-rotation airplay on a regular radio station in Europe.[7] He made his debut with the title song of his second album 'Saat-e 9' (9 O'Clock),[8] which also made headlines in the Iranian on-line media.[9][10]

In the late August 2010, Farzad Farzin made his European chart debut with the second song 'Chike Chike' (Trickle Trickle) from his third legal album 'Shans' (Chance).[11]

Sirvan Khosravi made a no.1 hit with the song 'Na, Na'ro' (No, Don't Go) for the second time in 2012 on the FunX Radio Station.[12]

Irish pop singer Chris de Burgh joined Arian band on their 2007 Album.

Arian, the first Persian pop music band, was formed after the Iranian revolution and have had huge success since then. Aryan band started a new chapter of Iranian pop music. Their debut album, "Gole Aftabgardoon" (The Sunflower) was released in 2000. The album had huge success in Iran.

Another brand of Persian pop music is represented by work of figures like Alireza Eftekhari. Eftekhari among a few others put significant effort in forming a new genre of Iranian pop music. Referring to the difficulties in this way, he once stated: "In order to introduce pop music to Iranian music culture, I have made myself a scapegoat."[13]

Contemporary Iranian pop in the United States

In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of Persian pop stars (mainly) based in Los Angeles, many of whom were born out of Iran or had lived the majority of their lives outside of Iran, began to gain fame. This new wave of Persian pop music often combined elements of American music and culture, as well as Latino culture, to form a new blend of music distinct from earlier periods. The influence of techno music especially has been very strong.


  • 1971: Googoosh, first prize and golden record at the Midem trade fair in Cannes for her 7" record (as "Gougoush") featuring two songs in French: "Retour de la Ville" (A-side) and "J'entends Crier Je T'aime" (B-side).
  • 1972: Googoosh, first prize at the Carthage Music Festival
  • 1972: Googoosh, first medal of arts of Tunisia
  • 1973: Googoosh, participated at Sanremo Music Festival[14]
  • 2002: Deep Dish, Grammy Award winner for "Best Remixed Recording" for Dido's "Thank You"
  • 2006: Andy Madadian, "Best Middle Eastern Song" & "Best Middle Eastern Album" at JPF Awards:

See also


  1. ^ The origin of Iranian pop music
  2. ^ Saba, Sadeq (Oct 27, 2003). "Iranian pop legend dies at 74". BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved Aug 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Submitting tips for TV broadcast". 
  4. ^ Ali Moallem on Pop music
  5. ^ An interview with Fereydoun Shahbazian
  6. ^ Music Review > Farzad Farzin > Shaans
  7. ^ Iraanse popster Sirvan Khosravi deze week de diXte of FunX Radio
  8. ^ Sirvan Khosravi - Saate 9 | Music Review |
  9. ^ ستاره پاپ ایران در رادیوی هلندی
  10. ^ بنابرگزارش رادیو Funx هلند آهنگ «ساعت 9» سیروان؛ رتبه‌ی اول چارت رادیوی هلندی شد
  11. ^ FunX XTips Chart
  12. ^ قطعه «نه نرو» سیروان؛ رتبه‌ی اول چارت رادیوی هلندی شد
  13. ^ Music Should Keep Up With the Times
  14. ^ Bahmani, Behrouz (February 11, 2003). "A Treasure Hunter's Efforts Pay Off, An Album of Long Lost Googoosh Songs, San Remo 73". The Iranian. The Iranian. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 

External links

  • (Popular TV, Radio and Online Music Channel in Iran that helps Persian Singers promote their songs)
  • Persian Music Top 10 (on IranSong)
  • Radio FunX (Dutch public radio station)
  • Radio Nabz (Online radio streaming Persian pop music)
  • Persian music reviews (on Bia2)
  • Pop music in Tajikistan (BBC Persian)
  • Persian DJ (DJ Omead)
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