German music and lyrics: Adel Tawil „Lieder“ (English translation)

Posted on 28. Oct, 2013 by in Culture, Music, People

I listened to the radio the other day when I heard a German song, which made me raise my eyebrows. It took me a moment to realize that the singer joined together various titles of mainly English songs. At the first moment I thought the performer was trying to be very creative … come hell or high water. But in the end I took a liking to it and finally found out that the song “Lieder” (songs) is a musical autobiography of the artist, Adel Tawil, himself. The song is about his favorite songs, favorite musicians, and his own life as a musician.

Adel Salah Mahmoud Eid El-Tawil is a German singer-songwriter with North African roots. His father is from Egypt and his mother comes from Tunisia. Adel’s music career began in the late 1990s as a member of the boy band The Boyz. The single “One Minute” achieved position nine of the German charts. Four years after The Boyz had split up, Adel became a member of a totally different project: Ich & Ich (I and I). Together with Annette Humpe, who had been a successful singer in the 1980s, he released pop songs in German.

Now, Adel is about to start his solo career. His first single is “Lieder”. I’m sure that you will find out most of the original songs and artists Adel sings about. But there are also songs and musicians that could be hardly known throughout the world. Thus, I give you some additional information.

 

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Ich ging wie ein Ägypter

I walked like an Egyptian

hab’ mit Tauben geweint

cried with doves

war ein Voodoo-Kind

was a voodoo child

wie ein rollender Stein

like a rolling stone

Im Dornenwald sang Maria für mich

Maria sang for me in the thorn forest1

Ich starb in deinen Armen, Bochum ’84

I died in your arms, Bochum ‘842

Ich ließ die Sonne nie untergehen

I never let the sun go down

in meiner wundervollen Welt

in my wonderful world

Und ich singe diese Lieder

And I sing these songs

Tanz’ mit Tränen in den Augen

Dance with tears in my eyes

Bowie war für’n Tag mein Held

Bowie was my hero for one day

Und EMF kann es nich’ glauben

And EMF can’t believe it

Und ich steh’ im lila Regen

And I ‘m standing in purple rain

Ich will ein Feuerstarter sein

I want to be a firestarter

Whitney wird mich immer lieben

Whitney will always love me

Und Michael lässt mich nich’ allein

And Michael will never let me alone

Ich war willkommen im Dschungel

I was welcome to the jungle

Und fremd im eigenen Land

And a foreigner in my own country3

Mein persönlicher Jesus

My personal Jesus

und im Gehirn total krank

and insane in the brain

Und ich frage mich, wann

And I wonder when

Werd’ ich, werd’ ich berühmt sein

Will I be famous

So wie Rio, mein König für die Ewigkeit

Like Rio, my king for eternity4

Ich war am Ende der Strasse angelangt

I arrived at the end of the road

war ein Verlierer, Baby, doch dann

was a loser, baby, but then

Hielt ich ein Cover in der Hand

I held a cover in my hand

darauf ein Mönch, der in Flammen stand

on it: a monk in flames

Kurt Cobain sagte mir, ich soll kommen wie ich bin

Kurt Cobain told me to come as I am

Und ich singe diese Lieder

And I sing these songs

Tanz’ mit Tränen in den Augen

Dance with tears in my eyes

Bowie war für’n Tag mein Held

Bowie was my hero for one day

Und EMF kann es nich’ glauben

and EMF can’t believe it

Und ich steh’ im lila Regen

And I’m standing in purple rain

Ich will ein Feuerstarter sein

I wan to be a firestarter

Whitney wird mich immer lieben

Whitney will always love me

Und Michael lässt mich nich’ allein

And Michael will never let me alone

Ich war von fünf Jungs

I was one of five guys

“One Minute” aus, dann war’s vorbei

„One minute“ over, then it was done

Ich sang nur noch für mich, für ne unendlich lange Zeit

I only sang for me, for an endlessly long time

Und dann traf ich auf sie

And then I met her

Und sie erinnerte mich

And she reminded me of myself

Wir waren Welten entfernt

We were worlds apart

Und doch vom selbem Stern

But yet still from the same star

Ich ging wie ein Ägypter

I walked like an Egyptian

hab’ mit Tauben geweint

cried with doves

war ein Voodoo-Kind

was a voodoo child

wie ein rollender Stein

like a rolling stone

Ich ließ die Sonne nie untergehen

I never let the sun go down

in meiner wundervollen Welt

in my wonderful world

Und jetzt sing ich meine Lieder

And now I sing my songs

Tanz’ mit Tränen in den Augen

Dance with tears in my eyes

Bowie war für’n Tag mein Held

Bowie was my hero for one day

Und EMF kann es nich’ glauben

and EMF can’t believe it

Und ich steh’ im lila Regen

And I’m standing in purple rain

Ich will ein Feuerstarter sein

I want to be a firestarter

Whitney wird mich immer lieben

Whitney will always love me

Und Michael lässt uns nich’ allein

And Michael will never let us alone

Denn wir singen diese Lieder

Because we sing these songs

Tanzen mit Tränen in den Augen

Dance with tears in our eyes

Bowie war für’n Tag ein Held

Bowie was a hero for one day

Und EMF kann es nich’ glauben

and EMF can’t believe it

Und wir steh’ im lila Regen

And we’re standing in purple rain

Wir wollen Feuerstarter sein

We want to be firestarters

Whitney wird uns immer lieben

Whitney will always love us

Und Michael lässt uns nich’ allein

And Michael will never let us alone

 

  1. “Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” is a German Advent carol. Adel sang this song in order to calm himself after he saw a painting of dead and bleeding Jesus on the ceiling when visiting a western church for the very first time.
  2. Refers to Herbert Grönemeyer’s album “Bochum”, which was released in 1984.
  3. Refers to the song “Fremd im eigenen Land” (Foreign in my own country) by Advanced Chemistry, a German hip-hop band.
  4. Refers to Rio Reiser, a German singer-songwriter and actor, and his song “König von Deutschland” (king of Germany).

 

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About Sandra

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra

14 Responses to “German music and lyrics: Adel Tawil „Lieder“ (English translation)”

  1. EP 29 October 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Wir wollen Feuerstarter sein! Cool. More, please!

  2. Mirko 12 November 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Hi Sandra, ich wollte dich nur auf einen kleinen Fehler hinweißen. Du hast bei der Zeile mit dem Cover in der Hand halten geschrieben es sei darauf ein Mensch der in Flammen stand zu sehn. Laut dem Video ist es heißt es wohl nicht Mensch sondern Mönch. ;-) Aber trotz dieses kleinen Flüchtigkeitsfehlers finde ich das hier echt super gemacht von dir. Chapeau! :-D ;-)

  3. Florian 18 November 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Sehr schön! Noch eine kleine Ergänzung allerdings: Vielleicht sollte noch eine Fußnote zu “Und doch vom selben Stern” hinzugefügt werden: “Vom Selben Stern” war die vierte Ich-+-Ich-Single und erreichte Platz 3 in den deutschen Charts.

  4. Anji 18 November 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Dass war toll und sehr klug! (That was brilliant and very clever!)

  5. ruru 11 December 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Thanks for the translation – really love this song! :)

  6. Felix 3 January 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    Das ist meine Lieblings Song!!

  7. Nick 9 January 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    “So wie Rio, mein König für die Ewigkeit”

    Can the singer be referring to the statue of Christ in Rio, Brazil? Das erste Mal ich habe diese gehört, ich dachte dass seine König Jesus für Ewigkeit war. Which would make more sense, because of the fact that any other king is only for life and not “die Ewigkeit”.

    I doubt that this part is correctly interpreted by you. Get back to me.

  8. Sandra 12 January 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    Hi Nick,

    I don’t think so because the song is called “songs” and Adel exclusively uses song titles for his lyrics, so he cannot refer to Christ in Rio. I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Rio Reiser and his song “König von Deutschland” (King of Germany).

    Sandra

  9. Paul 21 January 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    Wow thanks. Heard this song on Bayern 3 plenty times while driving around Germany and Austria in December. Was so catchy I decided to try and find it and stumbled across this after finding the right song on YouTube and then trying to find out what it all means….. Brings back memories…

  10. Stefan 23 February 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    “Weinen” is also a beautiful song of Adel Tawil. Here are the lyrics http://www.songtexte.com/songtext/adel-tawil/weinen-135ca1b5.html

  11. kieran 6 March 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Tawil singt:
    “Darauf ein Mönch in Flammen stand”

    (Killing in the Name of; Rage against the Maschine)

  12. Bogdan 10 March 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Thank you for this blog. Great job in translating and interpreting it. This song caught my attention recently while skiing in Austria. To add my two cents, I believe the line

    “Und Michael lässt mich nich’ allein”

    would better translate as

    “And Michael did not leave me alone”

    as a reference to Micheal Jackson’s song “Leave Me Alone”

  13. Sandra 23 March 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Hey kieran,

    thanks for that hint. Indeed, I wasn’t sure whether he sings “Mensch” or “Mönch”.


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