In Iran, poetry and music have been closely linked for centuries, as the earliest known forms of music produced there were melodic recitations of verse. Today in Iran, a diverse range of musicians still draws on the texts of classical Persian poets and there is a single word in Persian, sher, for both poetry and song lyrics. Popular music has a long and complex history in Iran, as it has been shaped by the country's turbulent internal and international relations and its radical shifts in political direction. In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, when the United States was a major economic 'partner' - or 'cultural coloniser', in the eyes of many - Iranian popular music was directly influenced by aspects of United States popular culture (Breyley, 'Hope'). Many young urban Iranians at that time bought pop records imported from North America and other parts of the world. For around fifteen years following Iran's 1979 revolution, especially during the Iran-Iraq War (1980- 88), popular music could not be produced in Iran. During that period, audio cassettes continued to reach Iran from other countries, including many that had been produced in Los Angeles, which became the post-revolutionary centre of Iranian popular music as pre-revolutionary pop stars emigrated there en masse.
The full text of this essay is available to ALS subscribers
Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.