First Published: 2004-08-23

 
Freddie Mercury gets official seal of approval in Iran
 

Iranian authorities approve of Rock band Queen's tunes that have social theme, leaving out love songs.

 

Middle East Online

Mercury was proud of his Iranian ancestry

TEHRAN - Rock band Queen, fronted by outlandish gay icon Freddie Mercury, have become the first rock band to be given the official seal of approval in Iran with the release of an album of their greatest hits, a source in the company that released the album said Monday.

Mercury, who died of AIDS in 1991, was proud of his Iranian ancestry and supposed Zoroastrian origins, which made Queen one of the most popular bands in Iran, but western music is largely frowned upon in the Islamic republic, where homosexuality is considered a crime.

"Authorities approved of the tunes that had a social theme, leaving out the love songs," an executive in the company said.

The album contains smash hits such as "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Miracle" and "I Want to Break Free".

Western music is strictly censored in Iran and those selling foreign music need special permits, although millions of bootlegged banned CDs and cassettes are sold on the black market throughout the country.

The album is already selling very well. "It is the first rock album to hit the market legally and people are surprised and pleased to see it has the lyrics, not just the music," said Akbar Safari, a salesman at a Tehran book and record store.

The cassette, costing less than one US dollar, comes complete with explanatory leaflet, which tells rock fans that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is about a young man who has accidentally killed someone and, like Faust, sold his soul to the devil. On the night before his execution he calls God in Arabic, "Bismillah", and so regains his soul from Satan.

Other western acts to have had albums of selected songs released on the official Iranian market are Elton John, Julio Iglesias and Gypsy Kings.

There are also books containing original and translated lyrics by many western singers such as Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion and even white rap artist Eminem, published to respond to the ever increasing demands of a nation where 70 percent of the population is under 30.

 

Turkey loses only excuse for appeasement with Islamic State

Marzouki seeks to stay as Tunisia President

France carries out first air strike in Iraq

Iran, six powers return to negotiating table

Saudi Arabia to restore Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque

Neighbourhood in Iraq’s Dhuluiyah stands against jihadists

British photographer Cantlie twice held hostage by IS

Turkey opens border to desperate Syrian Kurds

Jihadists to change tactics to avoid air strikes

Airlines suspend flights to Sanaa for 24 hours

US accuses Assad of breaking pact on chemical weapons

‘Concerned’ US urges Iran to cooperate in UN nuclear probe

Syrian children given anaesthesia not measles vaccination

France ready to provide ‘aerial support’ in Iraq

Tunisia denies existence of plot to assassinate Beji Caid Essebsi

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel