I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Nena -- 99 Luftballons


Ironically just when I was about to start writing this article, I discovered that my niece's grandparents had bought some balloons for her upcoming birthday. But they are not red.

Just going from yesterday's special ROY article devoted to Bill Shatner, I decided to do the regular ROY today on Nena's "99 Luftballons" since the singer put a shoutout to Captain Kirk in the lyrics. Mind you, I don't think ol' Jim would have been too happy with the aftermath lyrically speaking since the song has to do with a nuclear war because of several dozen red balloons which had been mistaken for a missile attack.

But man, was this a catchy tune by Nena! I read that the original "99 Luftballons" in German had been released early in 1983 but we didn't catch wind of the song until its English-language version arrived on these shores in 1984, although since Canada tended to have a bigger ear for the European pop than the United States back then, it's possible that we could have gotten into "99 Red Balloons" somewhat earlier.

I remember it first hitting the radio and then the video started appearing on the music channels on heavy rotation. Vocalist Gabriele "Nena" Kerner's purring voice and the fast tempo New Wave of it all made an impression on me as it did on a lot of listeners and watchers. It hit No. 1 in a number of nations including Canada while in America, it peaked at No. 2. The song even got attention in Japan where it was known as "Rock Balloon wa 99"(ロックバルーンは99)and hit as high as No. 16 on the Oricon weeklies but No. 1 on the Oricon International chart.

The debut album "Nena" with the original German version was released on January 14th 1983 which seems to be a busy month when it comes to ROY articles. Both Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." got their release in the same month, but I'll be heading back to the Oricon chart and giving out what was at No. 5, 7 and 9.

No. 5 Masatoshi Nakamura -- Koibito mo Nureru Machikado (恋人も濡れる街角)

No. 7 Warabe -- Medaka no Kyoudai (めだかの兄妹)

No. 9 Shinichi Mori -- Fuyu no Riviera (冬のリヴィエラ)

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