Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Neun und Neunzig Luftballon (Retro Blogging - draft 12/29/05)

The following is my combination of the direct translation and English versions of the popular 1984 song 99 Red balloons/99 Luftballon with very little original material. I heard the English version on the radio recently, and knew it wasn't exactly translated. But after seeing the direct translation, I realized the English version has some merit too. I doubt my version can actually be sung, just an exercise for me to pass the time.

Do you have some time for me?
Then I'll sing a song for you
of 99 toy balloons
We set them free at the break of dawn
'Till one by one, they were gone
Think of me just a little bit
And I'll sing this song for you
Of 99 red balloons
And how such a thing comes from nothing

99 red balloons
On their way to the horizon
Seemed like UFO's from outerspace
So the General commanded
A flying squad to intercept
Sound the alarm and sweep the skies
But out there on the horizon
Only 99 red balloons go by

99 Ministers of War they meet
At 99 Decision Street
Matches to a powder keg
The people they don't understand
But they all felt the immenent threat
Man, who would have thought
One day it would come to this
from 99 balloons up in the sky

99 jet fighters
Each of them a flying ace
Everyone a Captain Kirk
Shooting off their fireworks
Sirens blair, it's a red alert
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it upon the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by

99 years of war
In the end there are no winners
No Ministers of War
No fighters either
So today as I do my rounds
See the world lay in ruin
In the dust a red balloon
I think of you and let it fly


Anonymous said...

this was the song that was the opposite of The Scorpions "rock you like a hurricane". The Scorpions didn't speak any English and perhaps didn't know what they were singing about. Meanwhile, I spoke English and had no idea what the hell a luftballon was...

...or something. Amazing how popular this song was... I wonder why?

deadspot said...

I like the the German version. German is such a beautiful language.

Something about the way Nena sings "Kreigsminister" makes me want to go out and annex the Sudetenland.

Evil Genius said...

Ich habe bei vier jahre Deutsch studiert auf gymnasium. Denn glaube Ich daB ich bien David Hasselhoff!

GETkristiLOVE said...

I loved the German version back when it came out because it was like hearing, "blah, blah, blah, Captain Kirk, blah, blah."

I think that's the way all songs should be.

Dale said...

You can translate but can you shake it like Nena did? Don't answer.

Evil Genius said...

Like a Polaroid picture!

Doc said...

Her father was a general in the German Army and provided the smoke cannisters and explosions at the end. True story.


Evil Genius said...

Both my brothers were in the army and all i got were some lousy MRE's.

deadspot said...

What was it with the 80s? For a brief moment, it became socially acceptable to listen to German-language pop music, even in the middle of Illinois.

Right about the same time that Nena was rocking meine Welt, we also had both the Deutsch original and the English cover of Der Kommissar on the air.

And then it all went away.

Evil Genius said...


Then there was that whole Australian craze. Whatever happened to that? I am hoping there will be a Ukrainian boom in the wake of Gogol Bordello.


radialrelish said...

ihr seid alle verrueckt! In Deutschland hoeren die Leute deutsche Musik noch gern zu!

Evil Genius said...


All too true. But I like American music. Do you like American music?

P. Wiebar said...

Does anyone know the name of the episode of The Simpsons in which Homer sings "Neun und neunzig Luftballon"? Or describe the plot in the episode? Thanks/Danke.