by: Amir Mansour


A Brief History of Persian 78s Recordings


1899    First Persian records were taken in London by Emile Berliner's Gramophone co. (poems of Hafez, Ferdowsi and Zahir e Faryabi by voice of an Indian called Dr. Ahmad) on 7" without paper label records.

1901   Recordings in Baku and Tiflis (Russia) by Emile Berliner 's Gramophone co.(10" without paper label) and Gramophone and Typewriter Ltd. as Persian or Persian tartar, extending to 1915 by Gramophone Company.

(from left: 1.Mozaffareddin Shah's permission to Gramophone co. dated last days of 1905,  "Jelveh honar dar asnad e melli, p214     2. label of Mozaffareddin Shah's speech recorded January 16,1906     3. Certificate of John Tyler, American Vice Consul General in Tehran for Shah's records "Ganj e sookhteh, p36)

1906    First recording session in Tehran in last days of 1905 up to 1906 mid January and 3 recorded speeches of Mozaffareddin Shah, king of Iran (with a rectangular label and signature of Shah on record) by G&T on GRAMOPHONE RECORD (7"), GRAMOPHONE CONCERT RECORD (10") and GRAMOPHONE MONARCH RECORD (12"), one-sided, black with gold writing angel label, manufactured in Hannover (Germany) and first reproducing in Riga (Russia) in 1908 and the second in 1914 as two-sided discs in Riga. 

Some Persian recordings by Indian artists like Guhar Jan for Gramophone co. in India and  its extension up to 1930 by Zohra Bai, Janki Bai and others, according to The Record News, journal of SIRC.

(Some artists of 1906 records, from left: Bagher Khan-Kamancheh, Agha Mirza Hosseingholi-Tar, Mirza Abdollah-Tar, Hassan Lahni-vocal, Nayeb Assadollah-Ney)

1907    Agha Mirza Hosseingholi and four other Persian artists (Seyed Ahmad Khan - vocal, Mirza Assadollah Khan -tar & santoor, Bagher Khan - kamancheh, Mohammad Bagher - zarb) have Recordings in Paris for SOCIETE ANONYME FRANCAISE ONDOGRPHIQUE, released on  EDEN  PARIS double-sided, black & white illustrated label and GLOBOS RECORD of German Globophon G.m.b.H Hannover.

(From left: Bagher Khan, Agha Mirza Hosseingholi, Mirza Assadollah Khan,  Seyed Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Bagher)

1909    Eight Persian artists (Seyed Hossein Taherzadeh - vocal, Rezagholi Khan - vocal & zarb, Darvish Khan -tar, Bagher Khan - kamancheh, Mirza Assadollah Khan - tar & santoor, Hossein Khan - violin, Akbar Khan - flute, Habibiollah Khan - piano)  in London recorded for Gramophone co. and released as 10" GRAMOPHONE CONCERT RECORD and 12" GRAMOPHONE MONARCH RECORD, black with gold writing and angel label records, most of them one-sided pressed at Hayes (England).

(From left: Rezagholi Khan, Darvish Khan, Tajerzadeh, Akbar Khan, Bagher Khan, Mirza Assadollah Khan)

1912    The second recording session in Tehran and first female recordings in Iran by Gramophone co. just as 10"  CONCERT RECORD "GRAMOPHONE", first pressing at Riga (gold writing, brown label). Second pressing at Riga was colored angel and gold writing on AMOUR GRAMOPHONE RECORD label in 1914. Reproducing in Calcutta India in 1916 on AMOUR GRAMOPHONE RECORD the same as Russian records and in 1918 & 1920 on HIS MASTER'S VOICE black label and gold writings.

Agha Mirza Hosseingholi & his son Agha Aliakbar (Shahnazi), main artists in 1912 recording session 

1914    Five Persian artists (Abolhassan Khan - vocal, Taherzadeh - vocal, Abdollah Khan Davami - vocal & zarb, Darvish Khan -tar, Bagher Khan - kamancheh) recordings in Tiflis (Tbilisi) released as 10" pink or dark green with black writing MONARCH RECORD label, probably pressed in Germany. First world war and political conditions of Iran stopped recording in Tehran for about 12 years.

(From left: Taherzadeh, Bagher Khan, Darvish Khan, Abdollah Khan, Abolhassan Khan. "Ba zamzameh hezar dastan", p???)

1926    The Gramophone co. restarted recording in Iran after WW I by common works of Qamar-ol-molook Waziri , the most important Persian female singer, Molook Khanom (below right; of Salnameh by A. Miralinaghi) and Morteza Khan Neydavood, a famous composer and Tar player, introducing His Master's Voice plum dog label in last series of its acoustic records, produced in Hayes (England) . PATHE  needlecut Persian records of Iranoddowleh, Ibrahim Khan Mansouri, Abdollah Hijazi and others (without run-off groove) maybe recorded in this year as one of last series of British Pathe. 25 and 27 centimeter Persian Pathe records have green or red papers and gold writing with a circle or rectangular around the label.

      Qamar-ol-molook Waziri                          Morteza Khan Neydavood                            Molook Khanom                                    Ibrahim Khan Mansouri

1927    POLYPHON of Germany starts recording in Iran in last months of 1927 and keeping on up to February of 1928 when signs for 3 years by most popular Persian female singers, Qamar and Molouk khanoum beside many other artists like Aliakbar Khan Shahnazi, Taj Isfahani, Hosseinali Khan Nakissa, Arsalan Khan Dargahi and Hossein Khan Yahaghghi. Records are manufactured in Polyphon MusikWerke A.G. Berlin as 27cm high quality red labels with gold writings. First Odeon records of Persian operettas probably is recorded in this year in Tehran and produced in Germany as 27cm red paper with gold writing label. Also, some comic Persian records has been recorded by HMV in Baghdad and released as 10" plum dog label.


Hosseinali Khan Nakissa         Arsalan Khan Dargahi                            Hossein Khan Yahaghghi                                        Taj Isfahani             Aliakbar Khan Shahnazi

1928    Competition between British and German companies and HMV is testing its first electrical Persian records by artists like Iran Khanom, Salim Khan in his 2nd time of recording for HMV, Parvaneh Khanom, Habib Samaey & Adib e Khonssari and Columbia Graphophone co. Ltd. with its first Persian recordings (western electric) in last days of this year appears beside HMV and release COLUMBIA 10" and 12" dark green papers with gold writing and producing of Wandsworth (England) and HMV pressing as usual in Hayes.


     Salim Khan (Amirghassemi)                              Parvaneh Khanom                                             Habib Samaey                                         Adib e Khonssari

1929    Release of first electrically records of  POLYPHON, 27cm gold or yellow with black writing. HMV also has two sessions of recording in Tehran in January and October and its first formal issue of Persian electrical records is reported in a Persian catalogue, as attachment to general catalogue of 1930.

1930    BAIDAPHON label appears in Iran after some Persian recordings in Baghdad, by recording many songs and between them second Seri of songs composed by AliiNaghi Waziri and performance of Madresseh Aali Moosighi orchestra and their main vocalist, Roohangiz. These records have golden papers with black writings and gazelle trade mark.

         Waziritabar                               Roohangiz                                                Alinaghi Waziri

1932    Another label of Carl Lindstorm, PARLOPHON, stands beside other German labels and prepares its first catalogue by using last recordings of Baidaphon in Tehran and reproducing some of BAIDAPHON records of 1930. PARLOPHON records are made in Germany with royal blue and gold writing or gold with black writing labels.

         Rezagholi Mirza Zelli                      Nayyer Aazam Roomi                  Moshir Homayoon                                Roohbakhsh                                  Moosa Maroofi  

1933    Last coordinated recordings of HMV and COLUMBIA before the second World War by Roohangiz Khanom, Molook Khanom, Nayyer Aazam Roomi & Badizadeh for HMV and Rezagholi Mirza Zelli, Roohbakhsh, Loretta, Moosa Maroofi and Moshir Homayoon (top right) for COLUMBIA. The record labels are the same as previous ones. An unknown reason causes to stop recordings by all of companies in Tehran for 14 years.

1936    Javad Badizadeh- vocal, Abolhassan Saba- violin, Ismayyl Mehrtash- tar and Farhad Motamed- piano take part in a trip to have a recording session in Beirut (Lebanon) and Aleppo (Syria) and then joining  Madam Pari Aghababof- vocal, cause to produce 10" with gold writing on green paper labels of SODWA.

(From left: Badizadeh, Motamed, conductor of French army music band in Aleppo, Mehrtash, Saba. "Memories of Seyyed Javad Badizadeh (1903-1980)", p222)

1937    ODEON 10" royal blue with gold writing records of Badizadeh- vocal, Sateri- violin and a German orchestra, recorded in Berlin in this year with the first special designed sleeves of Persian records. Some selected recordings of BAIDAPHON (PARLOPHON) in Baghdad and Tehran reissued as red ODEON to make a popular catalog when Germany has a special political attention to Iran.

1939    Second Seri of SODWA recordings in Beirut and Aleppo of Taj Isfahani- vocal, Badizadeh- vocal, Molook khanom Zarrabi- vocal, Malakeh Boroomand- vocal (below center), Saba- violin, Tataii- violin (below left), Mortaza Mahjubi- piano (below right), Haigo- kamancheh, aushood A Rostamian- tar and oud player Sami mallah. Released as yellow, gold or pink with black writing. There are records of Persian artists on 10" blue with gold writing Iraqi label NEAYEM RECORD, maybe recorded and produced in Baghdad.

   Hosseingholi Tatayy                Maleke Boroomand                  Morteza Mahjubi 

1946    First and second recording session of Persian artists in Bombay (India). The first by Badizadeh- vocal, Zahedi- vocal & zarb, Khaledi- violin, Parvaneh- tar, Kamoossi- tar and four Indian musicians (on piano, sax, trumpet & clarinet) appears as YOUNG IRAN 10" blue or black & white label manufactured by The National Gramophone co. Ltd. of Bombay. The second by N. Minbashian, F. Minbashian and Ken Mac band for a private colored label, named DELBAR (just written in Persian) with attractive sleeves were manufactured by The National Gramophone co. Ltd. of Bombay.

(From left: Khaledi, Kamoosi, Badizadeh, Zahedi, Parvaneh. in New Delhi. "Memories of Seyyed Javad Badizadeh (1903-1980)", p298)

1947   Third recording sessions in Bombay by Delkesh- vocal, Khaledi- violin, Zarrinpanjeh- tar and Zahedi- zarb for NAVA-YE-IRAN colored label 10" records, manufactured by The National Gramophone co. Ltd. of Bombay happened beside restarting of EMI labels coordinated recordings in Tehran. HMV recordings of artists like Delkesh (below left), Banan (below center), Roohangiz, Fattaneh (below right) and Morteza Ahmadi pressed at Hayes on green labels with gold writing. COLUMBIA by artists like Ghanbari, Khatibi, Mohseni, . . .and green labels as like as HMV. ODEON gold writing on royal blue was made in England by recordings of Ghassem Jebeli, Bahram Siar, Saadatmand Qumi and many others.

                      Delkesh & her orchestra                                    Gh. Banan                          Fattaneh                       H. Ghanbari

1948   Some red with white writings records, has been recorded in U.S.A. by Jamshid Sheibani and produced on PERSIAN RECORDING CO. label in New York. First records of local labels, MUSICAL RECORDS, SHAHERZAD and ROYAL. All of their recordings were taken in Tehran and pressed in England by ORIOLE and  record production in Iran was kept on  up to 1960 with some changes in design of mentioned labels.

1950    Recording and pressing of "Hymne Iranien" by COLUMBIA in Pakistan. HMV dark plum dog label records of Mrs. Nava- vocal and Mansouri orchestra has probably been recorded and produced in Pakistan about 1950 too.

1951    starting to record many Persian movie songs for MUSICAL RECORDS, SHAHERZAD and ROYAL continuously. Main artists in this era are Delkesh, Manuchehr Shafiee, Parvaneh, Banu Shapoori (Pooran), Mahwash, Shahin & Aafat.

1952    Azari songs recorded by artists from Tabriz (Iran) on a new colored label named MUSICAL TABRIZ.

1956    Reproducing some Arabic records of Mohammad Abd-el-Wahab and Omme Kolsoum on 10" navy with blue writing M.R.C label (another label of Musical Record Company). 

1960  MELODIA of CCCP starts to record and produce many black and white label records of Afghan artists (Shir Mohammad Qaznavi, Yaqub qassemi, Madadi, Kabootar, Gila, Xaland, etc.) for Kabul radio during next 10 years, some of them in Persian.

       Afghan artists: Rakhshaneh, Gila and Xland



*   Dates are estimated

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