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    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

    Shanoah Alkire is our Discordian at large. "Born in Santa Cruz, I grew up in Grass Valley and the Bay Area, and now lurk in Las Vegas. My literary influences include Ray Bradbury, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams. I also program as a hobby, and currently maintain the Gtk port of Angband. You can find a rather old bio of me here."

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7-27-08 Nena – 99 Luftballons

Posted by Sean on July 27, 2008

I’m gonna get my eighties on today with some Euro synthpop. If you’re as old as I am (3.2 million years), you may remember an odd song in the cold, dark opening days of George Orwell’s 1984, sung in this, like, foreign language called 99 Luftballons by West German singer Nena. We in the English-speaking world found out what Nena was signing about when she released 99 Red Balloons.

According to Wikipedia (so you know it’s probably wrong), this song was inspired by a Rolling Stones concert in West Berlin, when they released a mass of balloons into the air. Nena’s guitarist Carlo Karges wondered what would happen if they floated over into East Berlin, and the Soviets suddenly saw this huge radar return invading their airspace.

I remember both songs well, and they always bring back thoughts of dreary days with iron-grey skies and freezing rain – days when you want to crawl into a hole and pull the hole in behind you. 99 Luftballons just so fit the zeitgeist of that time and place in my life – and probably in the lives of many other people, as it peaked at #2 on the U. S. charts and #1 almost everywhere else.

And then… nothing. Nena became, at least in the United States, just another name on the growing pile of one-hit wonders to come out of Europe during that decade.

In the 80s was kind enough to provide the German and English lyrics side by side here. Here’s the German version, courtesy of testtubebabies. By the way, the bit at the end with the dragon is not part of the original video.

And here’s the English version, courtesy of sweepyx.

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One Response to “7-27-08 Nena – 99 Luftballons”

  1. […] 7-27-08 Nena – 99 Luftballons […]

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