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99 Luftballons Posted by on Feb 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

German music has had it impacts in the United States. Nena introduced her song “99 Luftballons” to the US market and made it all the way to No.1 in the United States. The song was played in German even though an English version existed. Nena was part of the “Neue deutsche Welle” (new German wave) that was used as an expression for the success of numerous German bands in Europe. These included the Spider Murphy Gang, Hubert Kah, and Peter Schilling, who also had a very successful hit single in the US with “Major Tom”. Other German speaking singers like Falco are also still remembered. The question now is, why did these songs have success even though the majority of the population was not able to understand the lyrics.


However, the same is true in Germany, where mostly songs with English lyrics can be found in the charts and English is also used by German bands and singes in their songs. After many years without any German songs in the US charts the so far most successful German band introduced itself to the market and made use of the German stereotype by using mystic and provoking images in their videos and their choreography. Typical and recognizable German words like “Autobahn”or Fahrvergnügen”are used in the songs which seems to hit the taste of the American population. I would like to ask our readers what their favorite German related songs are that made an appearance in the US. Let’s hear it!

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  1. Christine:

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention Rammstein! Their song “Du Hast”, sung completely in German, has been a sort of a one-hit wonder for them in the US, though they do maintain a dedicated following here that has extended far beyond that one song. Their last tour here was nine years ago, but they sold out every venue they played. They have just released a song, however, containing the 2 “typical and recognizable German words” you mention, and sadly I think this is one of their weaker songs. It’s sung half in German and half in english. No discussion of German bands is ever complete without Rammstein. They have become an enormous succuss, selling out stadiums all over Europe, and by singing (99.999%) in German.

  2. Herr Kabler:

    You forgot to mention Nina Hagen. She was very popular in the states during the 1980’s. Her most well known song is New York New York. There is an English as well as German version.

  3. holger:


    the reference was of course to Rammstein and I am glad you picked up on it. They are one of my favorite bands and I still hope they will make it to the US in 2010. I also think that “Reise, Reise” was a stronger album than their current one, but I still love to listen to them, no matter what.

  4. holger:

    Herr Kabler,

    Nina Hagen! Na klar! She was very popular, especially among the rebelious German population, which I was probably either much too innocent or much too young for when she had her biggest hits. She is still on German TV from time to time and still her old self, which is a great thing.