MEIN LIEBER SCHATZ, BIST DU AUS SPANIEN? by THE COMEDIAN HARMONISTS

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1930s Part 4

The Comedian Harmonists were one of the most popular groups around Europe during the first half of the 1930s. Their name sums them up perfectly: a superb combination of comedy and five part vocal harmonies. They sometimes sang light classical material, but I think they sound best on the popular songs of their day. This track is from 1931.

MEIN LIEBER SCHATZ, BIST DU AUS SPANIEN?

Es glüht in dir ein heimliches Fieber
Seit einem halben Jahr, mein liebes Kind
Ja, ich merk ganz besonders, 
Wenn der Abend beginnt,
Wie leidenschaftlich deine Augen sind

Dein Wesen war einst treudeutsch und germanisch 
Auf einmal ist es ausgesprochen spanisch
Und du nimmst mich beim Tanzen 
Und beim Küssen schrecklich mit,
Vielleicht war deine Mutter aus Madrid?
Gott sei Dank, wie schlank gebaut du bist!
Wenn ich nur aus deiner Jugend etwas wüsst!
 
REFRAIN:
Mein lieber Schatz, bist du aus Spanien?
In deinen Küssen brennt die Sonne von Spanien
Und deine Augen sind so wie Kastanien
Auch alles andere kommt mir mehr als spanisch vor

Ich sag' Ah! Ich sag' Oh!
Und ich sage: Einfach fabelhaft,
Deine wundervolle, tolle Leidenschaft!

REFRAIN
MY DEAR DARLING, ARE YOU FROM SPAIN?

A secret fever has been burning in you
For half a year, my dear child
Yes, I notice it especially 
When the evening begins
The way your eyes are so passionate

Your character was once truly Germanic
And suddenly it's more Spanish
And you affect me while dancing
And while kissing terribly
Maybe your mother was from Madrid?
Thank God that you have such a slender build!
If only I knew something about your youth!
 
CHORUS:
My dear darling, are you from Spain?
The Spanish sun burns in your kisses
And your eyes are like chestnuts
And everything else is double Dutch to me*

I say ah! I say oh!
And I say: Simply marvelous
Your wonderful, fantastic passion!

CHORUS 

* Das kommt mir spanisch vor – This is a German expression. The English equivalent is “It’s all Greek (or double Dutch) to me”. Of course in translation it loses the wit of the original.

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HAVANNA LIED by LOTTE LENYA

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1930s Part 3

“Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny” (“Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny”) is a satirical opera by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht. It includes the much covered “Alabama Song”, one of only two numbers sung in English.

Lotte Lenya was arguably the greatest performer of Weill’s music and here she sings “Havanna Lied”. The opera was first performed in 1930 but this recording dates from the classic 1955 album “Lotte Lenya Sings Kurt Weill”.

HAVANNA LIED

Das wäre Ihr Mädchen, Herr Jakob Schmidt
Wenn ihre Hüfte keinen Schwung hat,
dann sind Ihre fünfzig Dollar Dreck aus Wellblech
 
(Dreißig Dollar?)
 
Dreißig Dollar
 
Ach, bedenken sie, Herr Jakob Schmidt
Ach, bedenken sie was man für dreißig Dollar kriegt
Zehn paar Strümpfe und sonst nichts
 
Ich bin aus Havana
Meine Mutter war eine Weiße
Sie sagte oft zu mir:
Mein Kind, verkauf dich nicht
für ein paar Dollarnoten so wie ich es tat
Schau dir an, was aus mir geworden ist
 
Ach, bedenken sie, Herr Jakob Schmidt
Ach, bedenken sie, Herr Jakob Schmidt
HAVANA SONG

That could be your girl, Mr. Jakob Schmidt
If her hips don’t swing
then your fifty dollars are waste paper
 
(Thirty dollars?)
 
Thirty dollars
 
Oh, think about it, Mr. Jakob Schmidt
Oh, think about what you can get for thirty dollars
Ten pairs of stockings and nothing more
 
I’m from Havana
My mother was a white woman
She often said to me:
My child, don’t sell yourself
for a couple of dollar bills like I did
Look what has become of me
 
Oh, think about it, Mr. Jakob Schmidt
Oh, think about it, Mr. Jakob Schmidt

FIRE by GUY SKORNIK

FRENCH POP LYRICS


Guy Skornik was just 19 when he released his debut EP “Les Quatre Saisons De L’Amour” which includes this song. “Fire” is a great slice of pop-psychedelia, perfect for 1967, though it wasn’t a hit. A couple of years later he wrote “Six Huit” for the actress Michèle Mercier. Also in 1969 he was one of the main members of the extraordinary Popera Cosmic project. All great stuff, but I don’t think any of it has been officially re-issued! Skornik went on to a solo career, and his albums from the Seventies have won critical acclaim.

Translation by Paraphera at Lyrics Translate, though I have made some tiny changes.

FIRE

Empire State Building,
Tunnel sous la Manche,
J'aurais voulu vivre,
Sur cette vieille Terre,
Où le ciel n'est pas de cuivre.
 
Fusée pour la Terre... BANG !
 
Pleine de Formica
Une fusée là-bas,
Un chien atomique,
Et une vieille dame avec un cœur électrique.
 
Des maisons de verre,
Des vues sur la terre,
Du silence partout,
Et des filles habillées d'argent jusqu'au coup.
 
Fusée pour la Terre... BANG !
 
Y'a plus de nation,
Plus de religion,
Tous les hommes sont frères,
Mais dans leurs cœurs, il n'y a plus de passion.
 
Leurs yeux sont éteins,
Le soleil est mort,
Et si Dieu existe,
Il a dû retourner sur la terre de ses fils.
 
Fusée pour la Terre... BANG !
 
Ici tout est blanc,
Même l'amour s'apprend,
Les enfants la nuit,
Relisent leurs cours sur des livres phosphorescent.
 
Y'a trop d'autoroutes,
Il n'y a plus d'arbres,
Mais l'herbe est brûlante,
Notre soleil, c'est devenue la république.
FIRE

Empire State Building
The Channel Tunnel
I wanted to live
Upon this old Earth
Where the sky isn't copper
 
Rocket to the Earth... BANG!
 
Full of Formica
A rocket over there
An atomic dog
And an old lady with an electric heart
 
The houses of glass
The sights on the earth
Silence everywhere
And the girls dressed in silver up to the neck
 
Rocket to the Earth... BANG!
 
There are too many nations
Too many religions
All men are brothers
But in their hearts, there is no more passion
 
Their eyes are switched off
The sun is dead
And if God exists
He had to return to land of his sons
 
Rocket to the Earth... BANG!
 
Here everything is white
Even love is learnt
Children the night
Re-read their lessons in phosphorescent books
 
There are too many highways
There aren’t enough trees
But the grass is burning
Our sun has become the republic

ANIMALES VERTEBRADOS by CHRISTINA ROSENVINGE


This song is from “Tu Labio Superior”, the album which ten years ago established Rosenvinge as a Spanish language singer-songwriter of the top rank.

ANIMALES VERTEBRADOS

Ella te pregunta dónde estás
tú le respondes aún detrás
hace rato que has perdido el compás
de la conversacion
 
Quieres irte pero no te vas
la última noche duele mas
de lo que pensabas y es quizás
porque no es tu decisión
 
Ha salido el sol
arrogante y español
y en tu corazón
llueve a todas horas...
 
Tu caso está en los libros
se te puede clasificar
en tu ansia, tu tormento
no hay nada original
 
Piensas que en tu manga aún queda un as
que si hace falta sacarás
y el mundo rodará hacia atrás
por orden superior
 
Ha salido el sol
arrogante y español
y en tu corazón
llueve a todas horas...
VERTEBRATES

She asks you where you are
You reply, still behind
A while ago you lost track
Of the conversation
 
You want to leave but don't go
The last night hurt more
Than you thought, and perhaps
Because it's not your decision
 
The sun has risen
Arrogant and Spanish
And in your heart
It's raining all the time...
 
Your case is in the books
That you can classify
In your anxiety, your torment
There is nothing original
 
You think you still have an ace up your sleeve
If you need to take it out
And the world will roll back
By higher order
 
The sun has risen
Arrogant and Spanish
And in your heart
It's raining all the time...

OB BLOND, OB BRAUN, ICH LIEBE ALLE FRAU’N by JAN KIEPURA

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1930s Part 2

In the 1930s there was clearly less of a distinction made between light classical music and ‘pop’ than there is these days. In particular many classically trained tenors released big selling records. The Polish singer Jan Kiepura became a star around Europe in the 1930s and he appeared in many films. This song from 1935 was one of his biggest German hits. It appears in the film “Ich liebe alle Frauen” (see below) which is described on IMDB as ‘a refreshing example of European operetta’. About a year later Kiepura, who was Jewish as well as Polish, fled Europe and settled in the USA.

The title of this song is referenced in the intro of the album version of “Rosemarie” by Hubert Kah, a song that has featured previously on this blog.

It is also referenced at the end of Nina Hagen’s song “Auf’m Bahnhof Zoo”.

OB BLOND, OB BRAUN, ICH LIEBE ALLE FRAU'N

REFRAIN:
Ob blond, ob braun, ich liebe alle Frau’n, 
mein Herz ist groß.
Doch was ich tu, ich denke immerzu 
an eine bloß.
Denn diese Eine, diese Kleine, 
die hat Beine
Und einen Mund hat die Kleine
Ja, das eine ist mir sonnenklar:
 
Ob blond, ob braun, ich liebe alle Frau’n, 
mein Herz ist groß.
Und doch gehört's nur einer offenbar;
Denn die eine, die ich meine, 
küsst ja famos!
 
Ein Ideal hat jede Frau, jeder Mann,
Und jeder Mann hat seinen Liebesroman.
Aber ich, aber ich, habe zehn bis zwölf
Und mehr beinah,
Denn für mich, ja für mich
Sind die Mädels nur zum Küssen da.
 
REFRAIN
 
[Zwischenspiel]
 
Ob blond, ob braun, ich liebe alle Frau’n, 
mein Herz ist groß.
Und doch gehört's nur einer offenbar;
Denn die eine, die ich meine, 
küsst ja famos!
WHETHER BLOND OR BRUNETTE, I LOVE ALL WOMEN

CHORUS:
Whether blond or brunette, I love all women
my heart is big
But what do I do, I always think 
about only one
Because this one, this little one
she’s got legs
And the little one has got a mouth
Yes, one thing is crystal clear:
 
Whether blond or brunette, I love all women
my heart is big
But clearly it only belongs to one person;
Because the one that I mean, 
kisses fantastically!
 
Every woman, every man, has an ideal
And every man has his romances
But me, but me, I have ten to twelve
And nearly more,
Because for me, yes for me
Girls are only there to kiss
 
CHORUS
 
[Interlude]
 
Whether blond or brunette, I love all women
my heart is big
But clearly it only belongs to one person;
Because the one that I mean, 
kisses fantastically!

JONNY by MARLENE DIETRICH

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1930s Part 1

After my series on German pop in the 1960s and 1970s it seems natural to move onto… the 1930s! The songs of this decade featured a memorable mix of pop, jazz, cabaret and light classical music. Love was the main lyrical subject, but it was often treated with a sense of humour or (as here) frank sexuality. The rise of the Nazis cast an increasingly dark shadow over the musical landscape as the decade progressed, but in this series I will focus the charm of the music rather than the political backdrop.

Marlene Dietrich had been around for a few years when she got her big playing the role of Lola in “The Blue Angel” in 1930. ‘Talkies’ were changing cinema, and Dietrich’s voice was as important as her looks. The fact that she could speak English helped her get the role, as German and English versions were filmed simultaneously. The success of the film enabled her to launch herself as a Hollywood star, but she continued to make records for the German market. This saucy little number is from 1931.

JONNY

Jonny, wenn du Geburtstag hast
Bin ich bei dir zu Gast
Die ganze Nacht
Jonny, ich träum' so viel von dir
Ach, komm doch mal zu mir
Nachmittags um halb vier

Jonny, wenn du Geburtstag hast
Und mich dein Arm umfasst
Die ganze Nacht
Jonny, dann denk' ich noch zuletzt
Wenn du doch jeden Tag Geburtstag hätt'st
JOHNNY

Johnny, if it’s your birthday
I’ll be your guest
The whole night
Johnny, I dream about you so much
Oh, why don’t you come to me
At half three in the afternoon

Johnny, if it’s your birthday
And your arm embraces me
The whole night
Johnny, then I think at the end
If only you had a birthday every day

NEONLICHT by KRAFTWERK

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s – Coda
Light at the end of the Seventies

Let’s end this series with Kraftwerk, arguably the greatest German group of the seventies. They released several of their classic albums, including “Die Mensch-Maschine” (1978), in both German and English editions. The lyrics of “Neonlicht” translate pretty effortlessly into English, and you can compare the two sets of lyrics below.

NEONLICHT

Neonlicht, schimmerndes Neonlicht
und wenn die Nacht anbricht 
ist diese Stadt aus Licht
NEON LIGHTS

Neon lights, shimmering neon lights
And at the fall of night 
This city’s made of light

LEDERHOSENTYP by HANS-A-PLAST

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 14
German Punk Rock

Germany developed its own punk scene in the late Seventies, but few recordings emerged before 1979. The debut album by Hans-a-Plast, with vocals by Annette Benjamin, was one of the first punk albums in Germany. It’s a ferocious record musically, but to appreciate it you really need to look at the lyrics, which are hilariously acerbic.

When independent bands like Hans-a-Plast started to sell a lot of records the major labels had to take notice. They started to sign up punk and new wave bands, and in the early eighties a much poppier, cleaned up version of new wave music (NDW) crossed over into the charts.

LEDERHOSENTYP

You're the one that I want...

Hey Typ, ich finde dich saugeil
Mit deinen kurzen schwarzen Locken
Der Blick aus deinen braunen Augen durchdringt mich
Und du hast 'ne schwarze Lederhose an
Und dein Nadelstreifenjackett
Das bringt's ja nun total
Du siehst so cool und lässig aus
Das machst mich noch ganz warm

REFRAIN:
Du bist so'n geiler Lederhosentyp
Ich kann dich ja so ab
Laß mich an deinen Lederarsch ran
Laß mich zwischen deine Beine haun

ERSTE STROPHE WIEDERHOLEN

REFRAIN

Geh doch nochmal für mich hier lang
Mit deinem herrlichen Django-Gang

REFRAIN

Ei,ei,ei du bist so süß!
Ah, komm, laß mich dich berühr'n
Zieh doch mal deine Lederklamotten aus
Und mach für mich einen Privat-Striptease!

REFRAIN

Geh doch nochmal für mich hier lang
Mit deinem herrlichen Django-Gang
LEATHER TROUSERS GUY

You're the one that I want ...

Hey guy, I think you're hot
With your short black curls
The gaze from your brown eyes penetrates me
And you’ve got black leather trousers on
And your pinstripe jacket
That's what it's all about
You look so cool and casual
That’s making me really warm

CHORUS:
You're such a hot leather trousers guy
I can actually stand you
Let me get to your leather ass
Let me grab between your legs

REPEAT FIRST VERSE

CHORUS

Do your catwalk for me one more time
With your magnificent Django strut

CHORUS

Ay, ay, ay, you’re so cute!
Ah, come, let me touch you
Take your leather clothes off
And do a private striptease for me!

REFRAIN

Do your catwalk for me one more time
With your magnificent Django strut

NB I think Django refers to a type of motorbike.

GLORIA by ARIEL RAMÍREZ

Missa Criolla: Part 2


Here is the second movement of the suite.
The traditional Latin text starts: Glória in excélsis Deo, et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntátis.

GLORIA

Gloria a Dios
En las alturas
Y en la tierra
Paz a los hombres
Que ama el Señor
 
Te alabamos
Te bendecimos
Te adoramos
Glorificamos
Te damos gracias
Por tu inmensa gloria
Señor Dios, Rey Celestial
Dios, Padre Todopoderoso

Señor, Hijo Único, Jesucristo
Señor Dios, cordero de Dios
Hijo del Padre
Tú que quitas los pecados del mundo
Ten piedad de nosotros
Tú que quitas los pecados del mundo
Atiende nuestras suplicas
Tú que reinas con el Padre
Ten piedad de nosotros

Gloria a Dios
En las alturas
Y en la tierra
Paz a los hombres
Que ama el Señor
 
Porque tú, solo eres santo
Solo tú, Señor tú solo
Tú solo Altísimo Jesucristo
Con el Espíritu Santo
En la gloria de Dios Padre
Amén
GLORIA

Glory to God 
In the highest
And on earth 
Peace to the men 
Who love the Lord

We praise you
We bless you
We adore you
We glorify you
We give you thanks 
for your great glory
Lord God, celestial king
God, almighty Father

Lord, only son, Jesus Christ
Lord God, Lamb of God
Son of the Father
You take away the sins of the world 
Have mercy on us
You take away the sins of the world
Receive our prayers
You reign with the Father
Have mercy on us

Glory to God 
In the highest
And on earth 
Peace to the men 
Who love the Lord

For you, alone holy 
Only you, Lord you alone 
Only you, Jesus Christ, in the highest
With the Holy Spirit
In the glory of God the Father
Amen

BOTH SIDES by CONCORD

GERMAN POP LYRICS

Fronted by Julia Lubcke, Concord were a German indie band on the fringes of the ‘Hamburger Schule’. They supported Die Sterne on tour and released a few tracks on the hip L’Age D’Or label, but a full album never materialized. This track appeared on the various artists compilation “Musik für Junge Leute” in 1997. Unusually the lyrics are split fairly evenly between German and English, and I have translated the German sections below.
For more information you can see their ‘Indiepedia’ entry (in German): https://www.indiepedia.de/index.php?title=Concord

BOTH SIDES

Weder für mich noch für euch 
ist die Geschichte gemacht
Wir haben viel Zeit damit verbracht, zu hören 
was andre erlebten und nun
sitzen wir hier und haben nichts mehr zu tun

‘cause we
‘cause we heard it all
 
We heard it all (x3)… yeah
 
Wir geben nicht mehr her, 
was einmal uns gehört
und passen auf, 
dass nur das wegkommt, was stört
Jeder Fleck, ein Zitat, 
das nichts mit uns zu tun hat

‘cause we heard it all
 
REFRAIN:
Always have to hear both sides of the story
Ist nicht dasselbe wie 
You always have to try
Always have to hear both sides of the story
Ist nicht dasselbe wie 
Always have to try
 
Jahrelang ging's ohne uns
doch jetzt geben wir das Maß der Dinge vor
Auge um Auge, von Ohr zu Ohr

Wir wissen, wer wo steht, 
wo's langgeht auf jeden Fall (x4)

We heard it all (x3)… yeah

REFRAIN
BOTH SIDES

Neither for me nor for you
is history made
We’ve spent a lot of time, listening to
what others experienced, and now
we sit here and have nothing more to do

‘cause we
‘cause we heard it all
 
We heard it all (x3)… yeah

We won’t give up any more
what was once ours
And we’ll be careful
that only things which bother us get away
Every stain, a quote
that has nothing to do with us

‘cause we heard it all

CHORUS:
Always have to hear both sides of the story
It’s not the same as
You always have to try
Always have to hear both sides of the story
It’s not the same as
Always have to try

For years it went on without us
but now we set the rules
An eye for an eye, from ear to ear

We know who is who 
We know the way in any case

We heard it all (x3)… yeah

REFRAIN