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Real Lyrics -> Foreign Language in English Songs -> Nena

Pop music isn't just fun, it's educational! We're looking for pop songs that are written in english, but use foreign words or phrases within them.

Foreign Language in English Songs, Nena

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20 Jahre: Nena Feat. Nena album at
Nena's, "99 Luftballoons"
The Lyrics:
99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Hielt man fuer UFOs aus dem All
Darum schickte ein General
Eine Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, Wenn es so war
Dabel war da am Horizont
Nur 99 Luftballons
99 Deusenjaeger
Jeder war ein grosser Krieger
Hiellen sich fuer Captain Kirk
Das gab ein grosses Feuerwerk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft
Und fuehlten sich gleich angernacht
Dabei schoss man am Horizont
Auf 99 Luftballons
99 Kriegsminister
Streichholz und Benzinkanister
Hielten sich fuer schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen: Krieg und wollten Macht
Mann, wer haette das gedacht
Dass es einmal soweit kommt
Wegen 99 Luftballons
99 Luftballons
99 Jahre Krieg
Liessen keinen Platz fuer sieger
Kriegsminster gibt es nicht mehr
Und auch keine Duesenflieger
Heuteziehich meine Runden
Seh die Welt in Truernmern liegen
Hab' nen Luftballon gefunden
Denk' an Dich und lass' ihn fliegen
These are the last four verses of the 1984 hit, "99 Luftballoons" by Nena (the first verse is difficult for me as an English speaker and writer to transcribe onto this site). Back in 1983, the German synth rock/pop group Nena's song, "99 Luftballoons" seemed to be an odd choice for a #2 hit record in the U.S. Considering it was one of a few social conscience tunes out at the time, and in German to boot. It was definitely an anti-nuclear war tune, that perhaps a German audience could appreciate more at the time than could most audiences in the U.S. (since German was split during the cold war between the Communist East and the democratic West), and Germans were on the front line of the conflict between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. But alas it did become a hit in the U.S., especially when, in early 1984, Nena (led by lead singer Nena Kerner with 4 guys, a bassist, a guitarist, a drummer and a keyboardist -- just like most rock artists in the U.S. and Britain -- and even Australia and Canada), they re-recorded "99 Luftballoons" in English as "99 Red Balloons". Although Nena would never achieve the long lasting fame of fellow German rockers, the Scorpions and Falco, with this one hit, "99 Luftballoons" they would become memorable to many 1980's young people, worldwide. The song itself actually has some idea to it that the members of Nena had studied American history possibly better than many Americans did. For their reference to the "99 Red Balloons", to comment on possible nuclear war, harked backed to a little known incident during World War II when the Japanese tried to attack the western U.S. (Oregon and Washington state) by using bombs set in what looked like normal red balloons (the Japanese did not succeed in the plot, but a few of the balloons did drift down and did explode -- injuring a few people for a few years). Although both "99 Luftballoons" and the English version, "99 Red Balloons" became a #2 hit on Billboard Magazine's HOT 100 charts, in the rest of the English speaking world (Britain, Canada, Australia, etc), the English version didn't sell so well. Many people are much more fond of the original German version for it's more rhyming of the lyrics than the English version has (and it almost seems to some that the English version is slap together as an afterthought). The song itself would have a renewed interest and become a 1997 hit for a group named, Goldfinger. Goldfinger's version oddly enough combines both the German and English version to come up with an interesting bilingual hit.
Submitted by: Peter

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