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About This Time About 40 Years Ago… It’s The Hottest Hits Of March-ish 1984!

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The Hottest Hit On The Planet!

“99 Luftballoons”
by Nena!

  • Nuclear annihilation: has any apocalyptic scenario been so terrifying, and yet, simultaneously, so much fun?
  • Has any apocalyptic scenario resulted in so many classic party songs?
  • And has any decade contained as many nuclear-powered party songs as the 80s?

The answer to all these questions is very clearly NO.

Nuclear annihilation party songs were a uniquely 80s phenomena. This was possibly because the United States possessed a President who liked to make nuclear annihilation jokes. Jokes that once almost led to a very “99 Luftballoons” style-scenario.

Nuclear-powered pop appeared almost as soon as the decade began.

1980 gave us OMD’s “Enola Gay,” the catchiest song ever to be named after the plane that carried the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

1982 gave us Prince’s “if-I’m-gonna-die-I’m-gonna-listen-to-my-body-tonight-yeah-yeah” classic “1999.”

And then 1983/1984 arrived, and everything just blew up! Everyone was jumping on the bomb-wagon!

Including the guitarist from Nena. This is one of those situations where Nena is both the name of the singer, although her real name is Gabriele, and the name of her band – who was watching a Rolling Stones concert in West Berlin when a whole bunch of balloons were let off, soaring into the sky.

They floated across the Berlin Wall into East Germany, and Nena’s guitarist – his name was Carlo – got a little bit worried.

Fortunately for everyone involved – i.e. the entire human race – those balloons did not set off a series of events ultimately leading to world destruction.

But Nena’s guitarist imagined such a series of events, and he imagined them with a surprising level of detail.

It’s not merely that the balloons are misidentified as military aircraft and shot down, instantly leading to a Dr. Strangelove scenario.

The plot of “99 Luftballoons” is far more convoluted than that!

It starts off harmlessly enough. The German military does in fact recognize that the balloons are nothing more than party balloons.

It appears for a second that further destabilization has been avoided. But then they shoot them down anyway, seemingly for kicks.

This leads to a panic across Eastern Europe where the War Ministers depose of their Presidents and Secretaries and whatever other heads of states they possessed in the Soviet Sphere in a series of military coups across the region.

The narrative gets a little blurry after that, but the world is ultimately destroyed and it’s all the War Ministers fault! It doesn’t happen overnight however. It takes a long time to destroy a world.

How long? 99 years, of course!!!

At which point Nena is walking – doing her “rounds” – through the ruins of her post-apocalyptic dystopia, in which the survivors are presumedly all gathered together, huddled underground.

She finds a balloon. Is it one of those very balloons from the beginning of the song? How has it managed to survive through 99 years of geo-political turmoil?

She thinks of you. She lets it go. Fliegen.

Given both the plot and its geopolitical context, it’s only appropriate that “99 Luftballoons” has also split the world into two opposing camps, initiating a stand-off which has persisted for about as long as the Cold War itself:

I am of course referring to the debate over which version is superior: the English or the German version?

For although both versions cover broadly the same ground – and most critically, both mention Captain Kirk – they are also, in many ways, very different songs.

It may shock you to learn, for example, that the original German lyrics do not place the action in a little toy shop, where you are buying a bag of balloons with the money you’ve got.

No.

They start with “do you have some time for me? then I’ll sing a song for you.”

Which I’m sure you’ll agree, is far less evocative.

The first verse finishes with the very mortal lyrics “and that something like that comes from something like that.” Or possibly it’s “how one thing leads to another.”

Then Nena bites her lip as though she’s about to do something naughty.

This is one of the sexiest facial expressions in 80s pop, right up there with the Susanna Hoffs’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” sideways glance, but it feels strangely out of place.

It’s probably best that they –

– and by “they,” I mean some Irish guy called Kevin, who usually worked with Kate Bush – did a rewrite for the English version.

Otherwise we might have gotten word-salad like “matchstick and jerrycan, they thought they were smart people, smelled a big hunt.”

So, who won the debate over which is better, the German or the English version? Despite the word salad and the lack of a toyshop: clearly, it’s the German.

  • The English version – “99 Red Balloons” – is an 8.
  • The German version – “99 Luftballoons” – is a 10!

(More songs, at least tangentially about nuclear annihilation, coming up in future posts!)


Meanwhile, in Glam Metal Land:

“Jump”
by Van Halen

“Jump” is less of a song and more of a four-minute battle-to-the-death between David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen over who is the biggest show-off!

Rock’n’roll had never seen such a battle of the egos!! With such exponentially escalating examples of one-upmanship!!! It was the rock’n’roll equivalent of a World Title Boxing Bout!!!!

In one corner we have Eddie Van Halen:

Eddie’s ability to play the scales at top-speed had always been an impressive magic trick, and indeed “the kids” were suitably impressed by it… but for “Jump” he takes things to the next motherf**king level, by combining it with a synthesizer solo!!! A synthesizer solo that emerges from the guitar solo so seamlessly it’s sometimes difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins! It’s impressive, jaw-dropping stuff!

And doesn’t Eddie know it! Doesn’t Eddie just look way too pleased with himself?

When was the last time you saw someone laughing to themselves in the middle of a keyboard solo? Chuckling to themselves thinking “no-one has ever played such a kick-ass keyboard solo as me!”

In the other corner we have David Lee Roth: constantly strutting around, constantly doing backflips and splits, constantly popping his head in the frame going “Look At Me! Look At Me! Look At Me!” Refusing to let anyone else own your eyeballs for even one second!

Up against anyone else, David Lee Roth would be the star. But that’s not what happens on “Jump.”

For not only does David have to compete with Eddie and his Great Big Guitar-Synth Solo Combo, he has to compete with the real-star off the show: THAT HUMUNGOUS RIFF!!!

Which, of course, was also written by Eddie.

THAT HUMUNGOUS RIFF HOGS THE ENTIRE SHOW!!!

In virtually every other song with a HUMUNGOUS RIFF, the riff is fair, reasonable, and knows its place. In virtually every other song with a HUMUNGOUS RIFF, the riff will stand aside during the verses so that the star can strut his stuff. That doesn’t really happen with “Jump.” David Lee Roth tries to strut his substantial stuff, but the HUMUNGOUS RIFF just drowns him out.

David Lee Roth is reduced to photobombing his own video, asking such questions as “can’t you see me standing here?” David Lee Roth even feels the need to clarify who he is: he’s the one with his back against the record machine.

For the first time in his life, David Lee Roth is not the center of attention. For the first time in his life David Lee Roth has to beg for attention. David Lee Roth may be one of the greatest rock’n’roll showmen – and show-offs – of all time, but he was out-shown-off by the magical musical wizardly of Eddie Van Halen.

No wonder they soon broke up.

“Jump” is an 8.

It didn’t have to be this way. You can have a HUMUNGOUS METAL KEYBOARD RIFF that doesn’t hog the the song?!You can have a HUMUNGOUS METAL KEYBOARD RIFF and still allow enough space for a song about leaving the Earth in ruins to go off and start a new civilization on the planet Venus! It can be done!

It has been done! Europe did it with “The Final Countdown”!! It’s a 10!!!


Meanwhile, in Queen Land:

“Radio Ga Ga”
by Queen

Queen only had themselves to blame. They had – or at least I have heard it said they had – started it all with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Some call “Bohemian Rhapsody” the first music video. It wasn’t of course.

That honour goes to “Little Lost Child,” a hit in 1894,

For which the publishers produced a bunch of slides to be shown during performances at dedicated “illustrated song” parlours. “Illustrated song” parlours would be a whole thing in first couple of decades of the 20th century.

Then there was the 1960s, which gave us Scopitones: video-jukeboxes in Technicolor! If you’ve got nothing better to do today, dive into a Scopitones marathon and witness some of the corniest music videos ever made!

But “Bohemian Rhapsody” – produced by the band so they didn’t have to mime to opera on “Top Of the Pops,” with the added benefit that it could then be sent to television stations in every corner of the globe – took things to a whole new level.

I’m not going to embed it. You’ve seen it before. You know what it looks like. Queen even included some snippets of it in the “Radio Ga Ga” video.

So Queen can hardly claim innocence now that we watch the shows, we watch the stars, on video, for hours and hours. It may never have happened if not for them! I mean, it almost certainly would still have happened if not for them, but they were far from innocent bystanders.

Situated about half-way – in time as well as in style – between “Video Killed The Radio Star” and Dire Strait’s “Money For Nothing,” “Radio Ga Ga” contains some of the clumsiest old-man-yelling-at-clouds rhymes around.

“We hardly need to use our ears/ our music changes through the years”?

Is the music changing because we aren’t using our ears? Did not music change during the Golden Age Of Radio? Of course it did!

“All we hear is Radio Ga Ga/ Radio Blah Blah”?

Radio Blah Blah? Does Roger – Taylor, the drummer, who wrote the song – actually like radio?

Despite his insistent declarations that someone still loves the format, it sounds very much as though he does not!

As a prediction of the future prospect of media-formats, “Radio Ga Ga” was a failure. And Roger’s promised “finest hour” never materialized. Sure, the popularity of radio has been far more resilient than I would ever have predicted a decade ago, but still… it’s mostly become background noise, hasn’t it? Roger would not be happy.

“Radio Ga Ga” is far more successful as a synth-pop pastiche. Because of course, such a “Video Killed The Radio Star” rip-off needs to be synth-pop. Queen’s previous pastiche attempts – funky-disco on “Another One Bites The Dust,” rockabilly on “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” – had not exactly nailed their source material.

But if you took Freddie’s vocals off this thing and told me it was Ultravox, I’d probably believe you.

“Radio Ga Ga” is a 7.


Meanwhile, in Aussie Land:

“Original Sin”
by INXS

INXS’s greatest achievement may have been to take the sentiments of “Ebony & Ivory” and making it funky.

Having Nile Rodgers – from Chic and “Get Lucky” and oh… so much else – produce it probably helped.

Also having lyrics that weren’t complete and utter goop.

Because instead of just living together in perfect harmony, side by side on his piano, Michael Hutchence is singing about a Black boy and a white girl – or a white boy and a Black girl – sleeping together!

When it comes to Michael Hutchence, pretty much everything ends in sex.

“Original Sin” may not have originally been about inter-racial love however. It’s difficult to say for sure, since “Original Sin” is a song with a whole bunch of different origin stories.

According to one of the stories, the band were on the tour bus and Michael was looking out of the window. They were passing a playground filled with little kids, from a range of different ethnic backgrounds, playing together, and Michael sighed saying: “we should all be like little kids.”

With an origin story like that we are lucky it didn’t turn into “Ebony & Ivory.”

Or at least turn into, as INXS’ nerdy saxophone player, Kirk Pengilly, put it, “almost a hippy song.”

Another story claims that the whole thing was Nile Rodger’s idea. According to this version of events, Michael’s initial lyrics were “dream on white boy, dream on white girl”, but Nile thought it would be better – “make a bigger statement” – if one of them was Black. Since the initial draft seems to be making no statement at all, you’d have to say he was right.

It turned out that singing about white boys and Black girls dreaming – or Black boys and white girls dreaming for that matter – was indeed “playing with fire”, as the idea of having different races fall in love with each was a controversial concept at the time. According to a Gallup poll in 1985, only 43% of Americans approved of marriage between Black and white people, although this was at least an improvement from 1958 when the figure was 4%. It’s now 94%.

As a result, “Original Sin” got banned from multiple American radio stations.

Just to make sure that as many races as possible could feel included in this funk-rock plea for racial unity, they filmed the video in Japan:

“Original Sin” is a 10.


Meanwhile, in Disco Land:

“Let The Music Play”
by Shannon

“Let The Music Play” by Shannon is a one-act play set entirely on the disco dancefloor.

A one-act play with something for everyone:

  • It has PASSION (between Shannon and the mysterious dancing stranger)!
  • It has DRAMA (when the mysterious dancing stranger goes to dance with somebody else)!!
  • It has SUSPENSE (will the mysterious dancing stranger come back to Shannon?)!!!
  • It has a SURPRISE TWIST (HE DOES!!!)!!!!

Let’s break this down:

Shannon is dancing with a mysterious stranger. She believes that they have forged a connection. Shannon believes that “LOVE” has picked them out for romance.

Shannon is a great believer in “LOVE.” Shannon appears to think of “LOVE” the way other people think of guardian angels, as a friendly force always looking out for her.

But something has gone wrong… what is this she sees? Shannon’s mysterious stranger is going off to dance with… somebody new!!

What is Shannon to do?

Shannon has a plan! Or at least, “LOVE” – benevolent force that it is – has given her a plan.

Shannon is going to keep on dancing, secure in the knowledge that if she does, the mysterious stranger will come back to her.

This is, it must be said: not much of a plan.

But with “LOVE” on her side, how can Shannon possibly fail? And indeed – look at what’s happening! – the mysterious dancer is dancing his way back to Shannon! He has “discovered” that they are “truly lovers”! Shannon gets her happy ever after!!

This is some pretty intense drama for young Shannon, but it’s nowhere near as intense as…

THAT BEAT!!! That beat is SICK! Insanely SICK!! It HITS HARD! It’s PACKED WITH METALLIC CLINKS AND CLUNKS!!!

It has a bassline that squelches like an acid-house 303 squiggle! It has synths that jab you in the face!!

IT’S RAW!!! IT’S PRIMAL!!!! It’s AHEAD OF IT’S TIME!!!

“Let The Music Play” is a 10!

What a rad time to have been alive!


To hear these, and other 580s hits, tune into DJ Professor Dan’s Twitch stream on Friday, 8pm Melbourne time, 9am London time, 1am L.A. time (of the night before), middle of the night (before) New York time!!! 

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Phylum of Alexandria
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March 21, 2024 8:16 am

You really can’t eff with 1984. Alas, while I was alive at the time, I was so young that I have to rely on the memories of my big brother (tee hee) and sisters to have any impression of it.

The production of “Radio Gaga” really is interesting. The song is pretty close to 80’s Ultravox, as you say. But it’s like Ultravox wrote a song over a demo made by Front 242, a lush synth ballad overtop a relentless industrial dance beat. Pretty unique.

Great write-ups overall. Your description of “Jump” is *chef’s kiss.* Perfectly captures the spirit of the song.

And to cap it all off we get SHANNON WITH THE BEST DANCE SONG OF ALL TIME!! WOOT!!

mt58
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mt58
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March 21, 2024 9:00 am

In the interest of public service, the following is my onomatopoeiatic attempt to type out the record slip-scratch and smash-drop that occurs just before each chorus of “Let The Music Play:”

shhmwoomp KAHSH

OK, that’s V1.0. Not great. Revisions and improvements encouraged.

Zeusaphone
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March 21, 2024 8:22 am

Before Scopitone there was the Panoram, which was very popular in the 1940s

panoramastitcher
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March 25, 2024 10:08 pm
Reply to  Zeusaphone

Never heard of Panoram before, have to check it out!

Scopitone was extremely popular France, I think there’s hundreds of them from famous singers of that era.

Low4
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Low4
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March 21, 2024 9:03 am

Into my college/young adult years now. In my memory, the ’80s was a pretty good decade for music, but there’s not much here that I like. In fact, Radio Gaga may be the single worst song Queen ever released. Don’t think that’s the best INXS song either.

Excuse me while I just grump-off over into my corner. Now, where did I leave my drool cup?

JJ Live At Leeds
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March 21, 2024 12:51 pm
Reply to  Low4

Fat Bottomed Girls may have a thing to say about worst Queen single.

Phylum of Alexandria
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March 21, 2024 1:00 pm

C’mon, that’s a gem!

There are far worse Queen songs out there.

Just to name a few: “One Year of Love,” “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” and the absolutely awful “Don’t Try Suicide.”

Virgindog
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Virgindog
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March 21, 2024 1:47 pm

I’d lump “I Want It All” in there, too.

Phylum of Alexandria
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March 21, 2024 1:53 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

No argument there. Why was that included in their best of, but not “Princes of the Universe?”

cstolliver
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March 21, 2024 7:41 pm

What about “Flash — ah-ah!!!!”?

Virgindog
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Virgindog
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March 21, 2024 9:06 am

I have a confession. I’ve never listened to the lyrics of “99 Luftballoons.” Oh sure, I heard that it’s about a nuclear apocalypse, but the story line you laid out is completely new to me. There’s a toy shop in it? War ministers? News to me.

How can I like a song so much without knowing its lyrics? Well, to paraphrase every teenager on American Bandstand, “I like it, Dick. It has a good beat and I can dance to it. I give it an 8.”

JJ Live At Leeds
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March 21, 2024 12:45 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

Now that you’ve confessed and made this a safe space, I’ll do likewise. Though my memory is a little hazy given I was 8 but I think I may have assumed it was related to WW2 rather than a nuclear apocalypse. There were still a lot of people banging on about the Germans in 1980s Britain and this had a war theme so I put two and two together and got my ABCs all out of whack. As an 8 year old any nuance was lost on me, it was great to dance (or rather jump around excitedly) to at first school discos. I did like the wistful ending, which may be a sign of impending musical maturity, even if that bit wasn’t good for jumping up and down to.

On the question of whether it’s better in German or English…. I think the only time I heard the German version was at those first school discos. Maybe our headmistress thought it would assist us in modern languages (which didn’t work as I wrongly assumed luft = red and ballon = balloon. No, luftballon as a literal translation is airballoon. There’s no red in the German title). She would play the English version then flip it over for the German.

For some reason the novelty of hearing it in German inspired us to greater heights of rambunctiousness. So German wins for me.

lovethisconcept
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March 21, 2024 11:13 am

So funny that “Jump” showed up today. One of my nephews spent the weekend with us a couple of weeks ago. He had heard Van Halen all of his life, due to being raised by my brother, but he had never seen a video. I showed him “Jump”, and he was knocked out. But I can definitively say that on first viewing it was definitely David Lee Roth who kept his attention throughout. I mean, he was impressed by Eddie. He knew that he played the guitar but didn’t know he also played the keyboard. But it was David, about whom he knew nothing except for the voice, who impressed him as a showman.

blu_cheez
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March 21, 2024 3:50 pm

I mentioned this back at the mothership, but there were two big songs in the “German or English?” battle back in the day: “99 Luft Baloons” and “Major Tom (Coming Home)”.

The German “99 Luft Baloons” seems to have won the longevity contest (can’t tell you the last time I’ve heard the English version on the radio) and the English “Major Tom” seems to have done the same.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk – enjoy the rest of the conference.

Pauly Steyreen
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March 21, 2024 6:40 pm

Wonderful examinations of some greats from a stellar vintage year!

I never thought of “Let the Music Play” as disco — in my mind, it seemed to exist in that transitional dance pop middle ground between the fall of disco in the early-80’s and the ascension of R&B in the late-80’s / early 90’s. A lane populated by Pebbles, Debarge, Jody Watley… Maybe I need to re-assess my own categorization?

Phylum of Alexandria
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March 22, 2024 7:25 am
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

I think of it as Ground Zero for Latin Freestyle.

danieruw
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danieruw
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March 26, 2024 5:57 pm

I was going to say I keep seeing it held up as either the first real freestyle hit or as the precursor of them. Shannon deserved more hits (I have all her albums).

cstolliver
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March 21, 2024 7:46 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Without “Let the Music Play,” there is no “Into the Groove.”

1984 was a great year. In addition to everything you mentioned, the Pointer Sisters were making you wonder whether Stevie Wonder was guesting on “Automatic,” Cyndi Lauper was squawking her way to the top on “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and stations were playing the heck out of Jermaine and Michael Jackson’s duet “Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin'” even if Michael’s label selfishly prevented Jermaine’s from releasing it as a single…

And that’s not even getting into Bruce, Huey, Tina, Hall and Oates, Prince or Madonna.

You nailed it: A rad time to be alive!

danieruw
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March 26, 2024 5:59 pm
Reply to  cstolliver

“Let the Music Play” was such an important record and there was nothing like it on the radio at that time – but lots after!

Last edited 29 days ago by danieruw
Eric-J
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March 22, 2024 1:44 pm

One of the unknowable numbers I would love to know is just how much cocaine was consumed while filming the “Jump” video. (And how does that compare to the amount consumed while recording the song.)

Aaron3000
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March 24, 2024 11:59 am

Weird that the official video for the Shannon song embedded above uses what sounds like either a demo or a re-recorded track… compare to the hit version:

https://youtu.be/eLN4lbewyT4?si=ydmzlAkTJy-W5zCx

Last edited 1 month ago by Aaron3000
panoramastitcher
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March 25, 2024 9:31 pm

Thanks a lot for your write-ups, Professor! This brought back so many memories.

I should start with saying that this was in my very early music listening stage, before I started listening religiously to the radio (well, mostly one regional station of public radio geared towards young people) and following the charts. I was 10 years old for most of 1984 and know most of these songs from hearing them later on the radio or watching the videos on MTV Europe in my late teenage years. With one exception: Nena!

Because every 10 year old in Germany knew and loved Nena! We couldn’t distinguish between the singer and the band and it didn’t matter as the songs were catchy and we could sing along, even if it was about nuclear war and near-annihilation of the human race. This was a subject that was very close to us, omnipresent. There was a popular children’s book about the aftermath of a nuclear bomb exploding in Germany (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Children_of_Schewenborn, published in 1983). The news were full with the Cold War and the pending threat of a nuclear war. A US battalion was stationed in a nearby town, equipped with nuclear weapons since 1969 but adding more potent missiles from 1983 on, making us one of the potential targets if the Soviet Union would strike first. Many of our parents or neighbours were active in the German peace movement, participating in marches and rallies against nuclear weapons and war in general. Jet fighters from a nearby Bundeswehr airbase were performing training flights several times per month above our heads, the howling of their engines less than 100 meters above our heads interrupting our innocent games in the garden.

But back to Nena: One summer day (I can’t tell for sure if it was 1984 or 1985 or even already in 1983) the very cool grandma of one of my friends invited us to “camp” in her apartment on the ground floor. We built our camp on her kitchen floor with mattresses and blankets and left the door to the garden wide open to give us that “outdoor” feeling. She left the apartment to us for the night and had even put her tv set up in the kitchen, allowing us to watch whatever we wanted as long as we wanted! (Which sounds more dramatic as it was. Up until December 31st, 1983, there was no private television channels in Germany. In our area you could capture seven channels, if you were lucky: the two main public German tv stations, two different regional channels of one of the main stations, the public tv channel of German speaking Switzerland and the two public stations from Austria. (Some people even managed to capture the public broadcaster of French-speaking Switzerland on a good day but for us kids this would have been useless as we couldn’t understand anything.) The first two private German to stations started broadcasting in January 1984 but some people (like my parents) completely ignored them. Anyway, basically all stations stopped broadcasting around midnight (or even earlier) and there was nothing on until the next morning!) But for 9/10/11 year old boys, this was heaven! And, as a special treat (by coincidence), there was a Nena concert on television that evening! Imagine our joy! As I was still a “pop virgin”, relatively speaking, I only knew “99 Luftballons” (which had been released in January 1983 and peaked at #1 for one week in March 1983) and maybe one or two other early singles like “Nur geträumt” and “Leuchtturm”. But watching this concert was a totally new experience for me, I think I had never seen a pop concert before, maybe just short clips. It was mesmerising.

I’d actually LOVE to find out what day that was and why this concert was broadcast. Pop music (and especially whole concerts) was quite a rare thing on public German television. I think this was some special event with several German acts with Nena being the headliner but it’s all a bit of a blur in my memory. I just remember that we kept on talking the whole night about how much we had loved the show, the songs and Nena (the person) in particular.

It’s almost weird that I didn’t become a huge Nena fan. But when I finally started to get more in sync with what was going on in the charts and even buying music for myself, Nena (the band) was already history and I had come to prefer international acts over acts singing in German. I remember grabbing some Nena albums in record shops later, then often found in the bargain bin, and always putting them back. To this day I do not own a single Nena release (neither band nor solo stuff).

Nena (the singer) has had many ups and downs in her career in Germany in the past 40 years. Unfortunately, I found her public persona in the past 20 years increasingly tiresome.The last cool thing in my book was her 2003 duet with Kim Wilde on “Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime”. After that she has appeared in way too many talk shows blabbering esoteric nonsense. She also was a judge on one of those “talent shows” that I never watched and most recently made headlines by siding with Covid deniers (or at least not distancing herself clearly enough from them). Ugh. (Not as bad as Nina Hagen claiming during a concert in the 1990s that you could defeat AIDS and cancer by banning refined sugar from your diet, but close enough.)

Anyhow, I gotta stop, this went on for much longer than I had planned. I just wanted to share this epiphany from my childhood that was triggered by the discussion about “99 Luftballons”. (Of course for me the German version is a 10/10!)

https://youtu.be/3mxmKE5ixuw

panoramastitcher
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March 25, 2024 10:00 pm

PS: Here’s the tv performance (playback) from August 1982 that made Nena famous in Germany. Their debut single “Nur geträumt” had already been released in May that year but did not chart. This moment in the spotlight was what finally sent it rocketing up the charts, entering at #59 on September 13th, reaching its peak at #2 on October 18th and staying there for 7 consecutive weeks. (Blocking it was “Words” by F-R David which stayed on #1 for 11 weeks!)

I really, really hope that this video is not geo-blocked!!!!!

https://youtu.be/K-WrzSjcK3I

panoramastitcher
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March 25, 2024 10:37 pm

PPS @DJ Professor Dan: You’re totally right, that last line of the first verse is really odd. “… und dass sowas von sowas kommt.” Of course it’s supposed to stand for “… and how one thing leads to another” but it’s totally unclear. The listener has no clue what the “sowas” (“something like that”) is referring to (something like what?!?!) and she sings it even twice, doubling the confusion (What’s supposed to result from what?).

Re: Prince: He had already addressed the danger of another World War in “Ronnie Talk To Russia” on Controversy in 1981.

danieruw
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March 26, 2024 5:54 pm

We were going to tangle if you hadn’t included “Let the Music Play”, one of the most influential and important songs in my life (and also of all time)!

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