NENA: 99 Red balloons club mix 12″ 99 LUFTBALLONS. 1983 Check video and a 20 minute explaining everything about the song and its background.


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A guilty pleasure? Feel no guilt at all. 99 Red Balloons was a classic pop single dressed in cod-new wave clothes, and Nena, as you told your mate, was gonna be bigger than Madonna.                  Part of the music genre called Neue Deutsche Welle (meaning “New German Wave”) movement in the German music.

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Having achieved widespread success in Europe and Japan with ’99 Luftballons’, Nena wanted to try their luck in the rest of the world with an English version of the song. Kevin McAlea wrote this version, titled ’99 red balloons’, which has a more satirical tone than the original. The English version is not a direct translation of the German but contains a somewhat different set of lyrics.

Nena recorded ’99 red balloons’ despite their dissatisfaction with the lyrics, which they expressed in numerous magazine interviews in 1984. They felt the English version was not a faithful rendition of the German original. Still, with this song they achieved something few other German bands had achieved at the time: a number one hit in the UK.

Gabriele Susanne Kerner (born 24 March 1960), better known by her stage name Nena, is a German singer and actress. She rose to international fame in 1983 with the New German Wave song “99 Luftballons”. In 1984, she re-recorded this song in English as “99 Red Balloons”. Nena was also the name of the band with whom she released the song.

To many in the US, today’s international artist is simply known as the “balloon chick.” That’s in no small part thanks to her #2 US hit about lighter-than-air party favors. And though this song is only a small part of Nena’s career, she doesn’t mind the label One Hit Wonder. Because believe it or not, 99 Luftballoons is a masterful anthem speaking out against Cold War fear and paranoia. It’s the ultimate pop contradiction song, a light-hearted ditty with a heavyweight message and Nena took it all the way to the top of the charts in 1984 and decades later it still resonates:

Η Nena είναι Γερμανίδα τραγουδίστρια, η οποία έγινε διάσημη το 1984 με το γερμανικό τραγούδι “99 Luftballons” (“99 Red Balloons

German New Wave world-wide smash ‘99 Luftballons’ by Nena. After playing for years in an ill-fated band called The Stripes in Hagen, Germany; Gabriele Susanne “Nena” Kerner decided it was time to move on. So, she left the band and relocated to Berlin. There Kerner formed a new outfit called Nena in 1980 with her boyfriend Rolf Brendel on drums, Uwe Fahrenkrog-Peterson on keyboards, Jurgen Demel on bass and Carlos Karges on guitars. The name Nena was actually Kerner’s childhood nickname. It was given to her by her family while they were on holiday in Spain. In Spanish it means ‘little girl. As the band started playing shows along the German club circuit, they quickly started garnering success. Their debut single ‘Nur Geträumt,’ or ‘Just a Dream’ in English, became a #1 hit in Germany and some other German-speaking countries. Their first album, 1983’s self-titled Nena in also went to #1 in Germany. And much of the credit for that has to go to their follow-up single ‘99 Luftballoons.’ 99 Luftballoons’ literal translation is ‘99 Air Balloons,’ but is more accurately rendered simply as 99 Balloons. In 1983 it was released as Nena’s second single in Germany… This, even though their record company was against it. Apparently, there was some concern because the song didn’t have a chorus. And they just didn’t think it seemed commercial enough. But the band felt strongly about its message and pushed to get it out there.

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