Filed under: Iran
It seems like almost every other week or so, I will stumble upon another blog that focuses on African music. I would say that its much less frequent for Asian music… Maybe once a month at best. But the lack of blogs or websites or what have you that feature the music of the Middle East never ceases to amaze me. There are a few… But not that many. And of the six or seven I can name off the top of my head, three are dedicated to the music of Iran.
The Golden Age of Persian pop music started as early as the 1950s under the monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. During his rule, there was an emergence of a new Western-influenced middle class. Soon, record labels started popping up.
The first label in Iran was Ahang (“song”) in 1959 and pressed their records in Germany. Ahang records were distributed by the Beethoven Music Center based on Manuchehri Ave. in Tehran and owned by Karim Chamanara. By the following year, they were issuing more than two hundred records 45 rpm 7″ records. Six years later, the label change its name to Ahang e Rooz (“song of the day”).
Royal Records was probably the second largest label in Iran. They began by releasing more traditional Persian music on 78 discs, then reproducing old recordings in the 45 rpm format. Eventually Royal, as well as Ahang and a handful of other labels, started to release new recordings of different artists and in all genres of Persian music – including the new “Beat music”.
There were a number of Beat groups in Iran, including Flowers, Golden Ring, Littles, Maha Jamin, Ojoobeha (Remarkables), The Rainbow, The Rebels, Shabah. And while there is little information beyond a few photos and sound files, I have read accounts of Ojoobeha riding camels to the stage and The Rebels cruising around Tehran in a black Cadillac convertible. But beyond that… There is not a whole lot. I know that Golden Ring released at least two singles other than the one posted here. They were also the backing band for Aref on some of his earlier singles. The Rebels, also known as The Rebels 5 and The Rebel Kings, released at least three singles – one with a cover of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” and another with a version of The Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper”. As for the rest, I have only seen one single by each of them.
Surprisingly, there has yet to be a compilation of any of the music, Beat or otherwise, from Iran from this time period on up until the revolution of 1979. I’ve heard rumors that at least three different people that I know of who are working on compilations. But if and when any those will ever see the light of day remains a mystery.
Thanks to Gökhan Aya for translating the Farsi for me.
Catalog number RT 1869 on Royal Records of Iran. No other information available.