Week 17 – TBT 2017 – 99 Red Balloons

For several years I regularly watched The Tube, which was a music programme shown on Friday evenings here in the UK. They had some cutting edge acts and got away from the light entertainment shows other channels were producing. The show always felt a bit chaotic, a bit raw, and there was quite a bit of excitement to it, with a mix of interviews and live acts. 
For example, I saw R.E.M. on there in one of their first UK TV performances – and bought the album Murmur as a result. Frankie Goes To Hollywood appeared, a bit before their single Relax was banned from most outlets and wasn’t played on the radio. 

This week’s TBT act, Nena, also appeared and on the strength of that one show I bought the 12″ single of the song. It was relatively hard to get hold of as I grew up near a small market town and big music stores were a couple of hours drive away. I was pleased to have got a copy, and even more pleased when my (ahem) good taste was evidenced by the fact the single hit the charts about six months later.  

The song is apparently based on a true story, where a number of balloons in the sky were mistaken for an attack by the West on the Soviet Eastern Block, and allegedly the world was very nearly thrown into World War III as a result. 

I don’t speak German, but I think I prefer the German version of the song – it just sounds better. Lucky for me the record I bought had both versions on it!

Nena – 99 Red Balloons


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