Throwback Thursday: Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” (1984)

The 80’s were a weird time in a lot of ways.  Pop culture’s answer to the threat of global nuclear annihilation was a really cool, really catchy song with an upbeat tempo that topped the charts.  (Full disclosure — I don’t know much about music, and I’m not sure I’m using the term “upbeat tempo” correctly.  If I’m not, you can totally call me on it.)

Nena released “99 Luftballoons” in 1983 in Germany, it was released a year later in America as “99 Red Balloons.”  Wikipedia taught me some interesting trivia this afternoon — the group was actually pretty unhappy with the loose translation of the Americanized lyrics, and all but disowned them.  Nena performed the song only in its original German, even when the band was on tour in England.

Maybe we need a catchy pop song to teach the perils of nuclear brinksmanship to the current president.  Or, better yet, set something to the tune of one of those Looney Tunes cartoons.

 

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