Beyoncé...Cher...Elvis...and Googoosh. She's the Iranian pop star that carries as much weight in the Middle East as some of those other famous artists do here in the United States.
For those connected to the Iranian diaspora, Googoosh is a household name. She consistently draws massive crowds of Iranian expatriates to her concerts. She will be performing in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
Born in 1950 as Faegheh Atashin, Googoosh first took the stage at the age of three, becoming a sensation across the Middle East. She acted in popular films and had dozens of hits across the 1960s and 1970s, most of them love songs.
Musically, Googoosh is known for her complex rhythms, powerful vocals, and lush blend of Eastern melodic styles with Western instruments. She was a favorite of the former king Shah Reza Pahlavi, performing at his son's birthday in 1977.
Googoosh's meteoric rise in popularity aligned with a period of westernization in Iran that began in the mid-1950's. With her extravagant outfits and cropped hair, she represented the modern Iranian woman. Thousands of women emulated her style, and the country was gripped by a trend of haircuts known simply as the "Googooshy."
After peaking in popularity in the 1970s, Googoosh's career came to an abrupt halt after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Under the new Islamic Republic, more restrictive laws on western influences — including music — silenced the artist for two decades.
Still, Iranians across the globe continued to cherish her music. In 2000, Googoosh left Iran and resettled in North America. She now performs in packed concert halls around the world, and continues to create new music. The music video for her 2014 single, Behesht, featured a same-sex Iranian couple, making a statement about her home country's persecution of LGBTQ people.
Googoosh will perform in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.