Who thought a song sung in German would be so popular? The group Nena, with their sexy lead singer of the same name released this protest song in 1983.
Luftballon is German for air balloon, and an English version of the song (called 99 Red Balloons) was released in 1984. The English version, however, is not a direct translation of the original. In fact the lyrics are quite different.
Both the German and English versions tell about two children who buy 99 balloons at a toy shop and release them into the air, and faulty radar equipment is unable to identify the balloons. The government immediately put their troops on red alert, and sends fighter jets to intercept which ends up triggering a nuclear war between East and West.
Nena was born Gabriele Susanne Kerner on March 24 1960 in West Germany. She started dating actor Benedict Freitag soon after the band separated in 1987. The couple had 3 children together, with the first was born disabled due to alleged medical mistakes during the birth, which caused Nena to go into cardiac arrest. The son, sadly died at the age of 11 months.
Enjoy the two versions of this classic song: