Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for "Xtra"

Oftentimes, lightning only strikes once for many singers and bands. My A-Z Challenge for 2014 will focus on those glorious "one hit wonders" spanning the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Some are my favorite songs, others are just plain memorable (for better or for worse). Join me in celebrating these 26 one hit wonders in pop music!

I hate to accept defeat, but I just couldn't find a song or a band starting with the letter "X" that was a one hit wonder. I decided to totally cheat and just use the X for Xtra one hit wonder - one that doesn't begin with a letter, but with a number.

99 to be exact.

99 Red Balloons (Luftballons) by Germany's Nena hit the U.S. airwaves in 1983 and was a smash hit. Many radio stations played a spliced German and English version of the song. The song itself has an interesting story, and its origin has to do with the split between East and West Germany. Some guy releases a bunch of balloons into the air, East Germany thinks its under attack, and then nuclear war ensues.

The catchy song rose to #2 here in the States. It also rocketed up the charts on more than a dozen countries.

Nena released another couple albums in 1984 and '85, but the band split in 1987. Gabriele Susanne Kerner, the female lead singer known as "Nena" went solo. She's continued to have some success as an artist and actress.

This music video got a lot of airplay on MTV also, and I remember seeing Nena dance around on stage in her tight leather pants. I also thought her band members looked like Duran Duran.

18 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That song got a lot of airplay.
No worries - everyone is struggling with X today.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The video got a lot of play since there was an English and a German version.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I figured as much!

L. Diane: The version I first heard had both version mashed together. I just like saying "Luft-Ballons"

Pat Dilloway said...

The German version is funnier.

Tony Laplume said...

I know this song from all those countdown shows as well...

Jay Noel said...

Pat: I make up my own German words. "Eggan, schleggan, doggen diggen..."

Tony: You're right, it's always on some one-hit wonder or 80s countdown.

Robin said...

This song did get a TON of airplay. I didn't realize it was the only hit from this band.

farawayeyes said...

I remember this one: a catchy little dance tune UNTIL you listen to the words.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I like the reference to Captain Kirk in the lyrics.

Jay Noel said...

Robin: They had some big hits in Germany right after. That's about it.

Faraway: True. My daughter was dancing to that nice little synth riff

Michael: We'd all yell that part.

The Desert Rocks & Intangible Hearts said...

I always thought she was being negative saying, 'nein and nein' as in no and no.

cleemckenzie said...

I remember this one and I loved the song. Great premise, the release of those balloons and the result.

Carrie Butler said...

I wonder who had to blow up all of those balloons...

River Fairchild said...

I remember the song well. It is very catchy!

Crystal Collier said...

I always loved that song--partially for her accent. Who doesn't love a great accent?

True Heroes from A to Z

G. B. Miller said...

X was a no brainer for me today. Good song though.

Father Nature's Corner

@Ruby_Barnes said...

I always wondered what the line "Wery wery super scurry" really was ;-)

DEZMOND said...

Nena is still present in German media. German taste in music is still very nice and more tender and romantic, They still love good pop music. I often listen to the singers who are huge stars there but not in USA such as Anastacia or Sarah Connor

Post a Comment