Art and Entertainment


‘Lady in Red’ Singer to Perform in Iran

December 22, 2007 10:35 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Chris De Burgh will be the first Western artist to perform in Iran since 1979, a fact that recalls other musicians’ visits to authoritarian countries. How will the mullahs adapt to British soft rock?

30-Second Summary

Chris De Burgh, whose 1986 single “Lady in Red” is a staple of wedding receptions throughout the West, rejoices in a huge following in Iran.

One reason the pop singer is so well liked there, according to an Iranian fan writing on the Free Thoughts blog, is that “most of CdeB’s love songs can be easily interpreted as holy love songs.”

Such a rationale would appear essential to facilitate his visit to a country ruled by religious leaders who have outlawed Western pop lyrics.

The concerts, which will be performed with Iranian group Arian, are tentatively planned for next summer.

The announcement comes at a time when the Iranian government is in the middle of a crackdown against cultural “immorality.” The authorities have arrested people for not wearing the proper clothes or for attempting to obtain forbidden movies.

De Burgh isn’t the first artist to play in an authoritarian state. Before George Michael pursued a solo career, he performed in China in 1985 as part of the British duo Wham! In 1987, Billy Joel took to the stage in the USSR and threw a tantrum during the performance.

Most people probably aren’t familiar with De Burgh’s extensive work outside of that overture to a million nuptials that is “Lady in Red.” However, he has fans in more than 100 countries, according to his Web site.

What makes a cultural transplantation successful is sometimes hard to explain. Arguably, De Burgh’s trip is no less strange than the stellar success of American-born actor David Hasselhoff, star of “Baywatch,” as a rock singer in Germany.

Headline Links: De Burgh ‘will play gig in Iran’

Background: Iran’s strict laws

Key Player: Chris De Burgh

Historical Context: Wham!, Billy Joel and the Hoff


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