Queen have attracted a massive fanbase in Iran after officials granted them the right to release their tunes in the Islamic republic.

The seminal group - led by late AIDS victim FREDDIE MERCURY - have made history in the Muslim country as the first rock act to receive Iran's official seal of approval.

Western music has long been strictly censored in Iran, but an album of Queen's greatest hits was released yesterday (23AUG04) and has proved a major attraction for the musically-deprived rock fans.

Mercury, who died in 1991, was publicly proud of his Iranian ancestry, and illegal bootleg albums and singles made Queen one of the most popular bands in the country.

Although the album omits a series of Queen ballads, the LP does boast classics like Bohemian Rhapsody, THE MIRACLE and I WANT TO BREAK FREE.

The cassette, costing less than $1 (55 pence), comes complete with translated lyrics and an explanatory leaflet.

AKBAR SAFARI, a salesman at a Tehran book and record store, says, "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."

24/08/2004 17:14