Rocking With A Foreign Tongue: Rammstein, Santana with Mana, April Wine, Nena


German bands like the Scorpions have been a staple in rock music.   But Nena’s German version of  “99 Luftballons” was the first to top the charts.  Since the 80’s, more aggressive bands and a hardcore genre called Neue Deutsche Harte invaded the  German rock scene.   Trent Reznor worked with a promising new band, Rammstein, in the late 90’s, and soon afterwards were nominated for Top Hard Rock Performance at the Grammys for this industrial metal anthem.


Mana’ has been a leader in the “Rock En Espanol” movement for the past twenty years.   In fact,  Mana’ has the biggest selling Spanish lyric album of all time, ¿Dónde Jugarán Los Niños?   They experimented with funky guitars and Latin rhythms but always maintained their rocker attitude.  Here’s their biggest U.S. hit when Mana’ teamed up with their hero, guitar virtuoso, and Mexican peer, Carlos Santana, on his legendary Supernatural CD in 1999.


Canadians rockers from Neil Young to Bryan Adams to Avril Lavigne to Arcade Fire have become staples on American radio.    Despite their Canadian roots, none of the above paid tribute to their native land by recording in French.   April Wine, an 80’s hard rock band, took on the challenge in their 80’s power ballad, “Just Between You And Me”  with the inclusion of the line, “Just between you and me, Always I know our love will be
Seulement entre toi et moi Means that our love will always be ”


One of the best one hit wonders of the 80’s, Nena’s German version was spliced together with an English version by Casey Kasem on his Top 40 radio countdown show. Do you remember the video of the dark haired Nena walking alone on a desolate field? It’s actually a protest song about someone releasing 99 balloons into the sky and the military radar can’t figure out what it is and releases a nuclear bomb in retaliation! Nena did a new version in 2009. Here’s the original video.