Queen has become the first rock band to be officially approved for release in Iran. A special selection of “Greatest Hits” featuring songs with social themes and nixing love songs is on sale for the equivalent of less than one U.S. dollar.
An enclosed leaflet “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.”
Homosexuality is considered a crime in Iran, so it’s ironic that another Western artist of the four “officially” on sale there is Elton John. The other two are Julio Iglesias and the Gipsy Kings. Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, whose ancestral roots are Iranian, died of AIDS in 1991.