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Last Updated: Monday, 27 October, 2003, 19:44 GMT
Iranian pop legend dies at 74
By Sadeq Saba
BBC Iranian affairs analyst

One of Iran's best-loved pop singers, Vigen, has died in the United States at the age of 74. He was generally known as the king of Iranian pop.

Iranian pop star Vigen with daughter Jacqueline
Vigen in his heyday with his daughter Jacqueline
Like many other Iranian entertainers, he had to leave the county after the Islamic revolution in 1979, which banned pop music.

Across more than half a century, Vigen performed some of the most memorable songs in recent Iranian history.

He had a wonderful, resonant voice. For Iranians, young and old, he was a legend.

Great entertainer

He was born Vigen Derderian in 1929 in western Iran into a relatively poor family.

He became Iran's real first male pop and jazz star and was generally known in Persian as the ''Sultan of Jazz''.

Some of his fans compared him to the American singer Elvis Presley.

After the Islamic revolution in 1979, which banned pop music, Vigen left the country and began a new life in Los Angeles.

He regularly performed in European and American cities to packed audiences.

Although he was from Iran's minority Armenian community, he was loved by all Iranians.

Vigen sang both in Persian and Armenian. He will be remembered by millions of his fans as one of Iran's greatest entertainers.

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