Johnny Hallyday, one of the biggest stars of French music, died last month. Here is one of his early recordings from 1960. Like many of his records it is a reworking of an English song, though the original version by Barbara Evans is fairly obscure.
Hallyday later married Sylvie Vartan and they were effectively the king and queen of French pop, though hipsters probably preferred Jaques Dutronc and Francoise Hardy.

Thanks to Gavier at Lyrics Translate for the translation.


Souvenirs, souvenirs
Je vous retrouve dans mon cœur
Et vous faites refleurir
Tous mes rêves de bonheur
Je me souviens d'un soir de danse
Joue contre joue
Des rendez-vous de nos vacances
Quand nous faisions les fous
Souvenirs, souvenirs
De nos beaux jours de l'été
Lorsque nous partions cueillir
Mille fleurs, mille baisers
Et pour mieux garder dans ma tête
Les joies de la belle saison
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Il nous reste nos chansons
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Quelque part dans le matin
Où le soleil semblait rire
Tout le long de nos chemins
Nous n'avions au fond de nos poches
Qu'un peu d'espoir
Mais nous partions comme Gavroche
Le cœur assez bavard
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Vous revenez dans ma vie
Illuminant l'avenir
Lorsque mon ciel est trop gris
On dit que le temps vous emporte
Et pourtant ça, j'en suis certain
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Vous resterez mes copains

Memories, memories
I find you in my heart again
And again you make flower
All my dreams of happiness
I remember a night of dancing
Cheek to cheek
Our holiday meetings
When we played the fool
Memories, memories
Of our beautiful summer days
When we left to gather
A thousand flowers, a thousand kisses
And to better keep in my head
The joys of the beautiful season
Memories, memories
We still have our songs
Memories, memories
Somewhere in the morning
Where the sun seemed to laugh
All along our paths
We had in the bottom of our pockets
Only a little hope
But, we left like Gavroche*
The heart rather chatty
Memories, memories
You come back into my life
Lighting the future
When my sky is too grey
They say that time carries you away
And yet I am certain
Memories, memories
You will stay my friends

* Character from ‘Les Misérables’ – an urchin, a street child



GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 8
Notes from the German Underground

Lothar Meid was the bassist for the Krautrock band Amon Düüll II in the early Seventies. After leaving the group he released his first solo album “Mensch, dieser Klaus!” in 1975. The guitar freak-outs of his old band were replaced by more conventional songs, and for the first time he sang in German. This track is a wry look back at his time in Amon Düüll II, who were a big fish in the small pond that was the German underground scene. A promo video was filmed for this song but sadly it isn’t available on YouTube at the time of writing.

Thanks to lyrics translate for their help, both with the transcription and the translation. I have made a few alterations to the original translation.


Wir kamen von der Wenne
Und wir hörten Tag und Nacht
Die Rolling Stones
Die Beatles und den alten Blues
Led Zeppelin, Spooky Tooth,
Das ganze Zeugs
Und wir dachten, die Popstars bringen's voll
Mettigel, Rock 'n Roll und ein Rolls Royce
Und wir ließen uns die Haare wachsen
Und spielten die total Beknackten 
und machten eine Band
Wir hielten uns für Helden aus dem Untergrund
Die Leute sagten: "Hmm! Angesagt!"
Wir spielten uns jeden Tag die Finger wund
Auf nichtbezahlten Gitarren
Und dann zogen wir aufs Land hinaus
Und wohnten alle im selben Haus
Wir hatten kein Geld und keine Jobs
Und waren doch, man glaubt es kaum, 
fast weltbekannt
Und anstatt des Rolls Royce,
Da hatten wir 'n alten, morschen Cadillac
Der blieb bald steh'n und wir fuhren wieder
Mit dem Maxxrad
Denn wir waren Helden aus dem Untergrund
Die Leute sagten: "Hmm! Angesagt!"
Wir spielten uns jeden Tag die Finger wund
Auf nichtbezahlten Gitarren

Wir stehen in jedem Pop-Lexikon,
Im Melody Maker, im Rolling Stone;
Das nützt uns gar nichts,
Denn unsere Firma hat uns gefeuert.
Wir waren ihnen wohl doch zu teuer,
Nach all der Zeit.
Unsere Platten gibt's in 30 Ländern
Doch die Lage will sich nicht ändern
Noch immer gibt's kein Geld
Und jede Miete 
bringt uns dem Bankrott nah
Denn wir sind noch immer die
Helden aus dem Untergrund
Die Leute sagen: "Noch immer angesagt!"
Wir spielen uns noch immer die Finger wund
Auf immer noch nicht bezahlten Gitarren
"Nach Amerika und England
Rockt jetzt auch Deutschland!
Das Beste von der Deutschrockfront
Frisch auf Ihren Plattenteller!
Auf unserem neuen 
Deutschrock superfinsterem [?] Album
Sie hören die Glock'n [?]
Wurzelsepp, Gammastrahlen, Heckeldock [?], 
Waidmannsheil, Rohrbruch
Und viele, viele andere,
Zum einmaligen, super-sonder-Knallerpreis:
Nur siebzehnmarkneunzig!"

We come from the (river) Wenne
And we listened day and night
To the Rolling stones
The Beatles and old blues
Led Zeppelin, Spooky Tooth
All that stuff
And we thought, pop stars get it all,
Meat hedgehogs*, rock ‘n’ roll and a Rolls Royce
And we let our hair grow
And we acted totally insane
And formed a band
We thought we were heroes of the underground
The people said, "Hmm! Hip!"
We played every day until our fingers were sore
On unpaid guitars
And then we moved to the countryside
And all lived in the same house
We had no money and no jobs
And yet, unbelievably
Almost world famous
And instead of a Rolls Royce
We had an old beat up Cadillac
That soon broke down and we went on
On a Maxxrad (bike)
Then we were heroes of the underground
The people said, "Hmm! Hip!"
We played every day until our fingers were sore
On unpaid guitars

We are in every pop encyclopedia
In Melody Maker, in Rolling Stone
That doesn't help us one bit
Because our (record) company has fired us
We were probably too expensive for them
After all this time
Our records are (released) in 30 countries
But the situation will never change
There’s still never any money
And every rent (bill) 
Brings us closer to bankruptcy

Then we’re still always 
Heroes of the underground
The people say, "Still hip as always!"
We play every day until our fingers are sore
On still unpaid guitars
[Radio/TV promoter]
After America and England
Now Germany is rocking too!
The best from the German Rock scene
Fresh on your turntable
From our new 
Super dark German rock album
You're listening to the sounds
Wurzelsepp, Gammastrahlen, Heckeldock,
Waidmannsheil, Rohrbruch
And many, many more
Once only at a super special discount price:
Only seventeen Marks ninety!


I recommend the Leichte Literatur (Light Literature) series by the publisher Hueber. These graded readers offer simplified versions (A2 level) of German classics. There are nine books in the series:

Faust (Goethe)
Werther (Goethe)
Die Räuber (Schiller)
Rumpelstilzchen (3 fairytales)
Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (3 fairytales)
Siegfrieds Tod (Nibelung saga)
Fräulein Else (Schnitzler)
Bergkristall (Stifter)
Der zerbrochene Krug (The Broken Jug)



Over Christmas I was listening to Bob Dylan’s seasonal album, a record which tends to divide critical opinion. My favourite track is “Must Be Santa” (see below), which seems to be at least partly inspired by the Schnitzelbank song. This is a traditional drinking song and some German breweries have a handy poster to help you keep up with the lyrics.

Each verse becomes longer as more and more items are added to the list, a bit like the English carol “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”. For this reason I have only written out the first three verses in full! The song is also popular with children, particularly in the USA where it is sometimes used to help teach German. There are many versions with alternate lyrics but I think the ones below are the most traditional.

I took the lyrics and translation from this page:, but as usual I have made some alterations and improvements.


1. Ist das nicht ein Schnitzelbank?
Ja das ist ein Schnitzelbank.
Oh du schöne Schnitzelbank,
oh du schöne Schnitzelbank.
2. Ist das nicht ein kurz und lang?
Ja das ist ein kurz und lang.
Ist das nicht ein hin und her?
Ja das ist ein hin und her.
Hin und her, kurz und lang,
Oh du schöne Schnitzelbank,
oh du schöne Schnitzelbank.
3. Ist das nicht ein kreuz und quer?
Ja das ist ein kreuz und quer.
Ist das nicht ein Schiessgewehr?
Ja das ist ein Schiessgewehr.
Schiessgewehr, kreuz und quer,
hin und her, kurz und lang,
Oh du schöne Schnitzelbank,
oh du schöne Schnitzelbank.
4. …Wagenrad
…krumm und grad
5. …grosses Glass
6. …Haufen Mist
7. …dicke Frau
…fette Sau
8. …langer Mann
9. …Hochzeitsring
….gefährliches Ding

1. Isn't that a carving bench?
Yes, it is a carving bench
Oh you wonderful carving bench
Oh you wonderful carving bench
2. Isn't that short and long?
Yes, it is short and long
Isn't that back and forth?
Yes, it is back and forth
Back and forth, short and long
Oh you wonderful carving bench
Oh you wonderful carving bench
3. Isn't that criss and cross?
Yes, it is criss and cross
Isn't that a shooting gun?
Yes, it is a shooting gun
Shooting gun, criss and cross
Back and forth, short and long
Oh you wonderful carving bench
Oh you wonderful carving bench
4. …wagon wheel
…bent and straight
5. …big glass
…oxen bladder
6. …pile of dung
…naughty boy
7. …stout woman
…fat sow
8. …tall man
…Christmas tree
9. …wedding ring
….dangerous thing


Tito Larriva was born in Mexico but is based in the USA. He started out in the punk band The Plugz which eventually evolved into Los Cruzados. In the early Nineties he formed Tito & Tarantula, and the band contributed this song to the soundtrack of the movie “From Dusk ‘Till Dawn” (1996).


Cucarachas enojadas
Fumando Marijuana
Buscando una Fiesta
Y un kilo de Coc-a
Cucarachas fumando marijuana

Angry cockroaches
Smoking marijuana
Looking for a party
And a kilo of Cocaine
Cockroaches smoking marijuana



Silent night is one of the most popular Christmas carols, and here are the English lyrics.

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

However, the original is actually in German. It was composed by the Austrian Franz Gruber who set words by Joseph Mohr. Here are the German lyrics with a more literal translation.


Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
Alles schläft, einsam wacht
nur das traute, hochheilige Paar
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh

Silent night, holy night
Everyone sleeping, awake alone
Just the faithful holy couple
Beloved child with curly hair
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

There is also a Spanish version of the lyrics, and they vary considerably from the German original. You can see them below alongside my English translation. I think it is interesting to compare the Spanish version with “El Nacimiento” from Navidad Nuestra.


Noche de paz, noche de amor
Todo duerme en derredor
Entre sus astros que esparcen su luz
Bella anunciando al niñito Jesús
Brilla la estrella de paz
Brilla la estrella de paz

Night of peace, night of love
Everyone around is asleep
Amongst the stars that spread their light
Beautifully heralding the baby Jesus
The star of peace shines
The star of peace shines

Finally, here is the French version. Translation from:


Douce nuit, sainte nuit
Dans les cieux, l'astre luit
Le mystère annoncé s'accomplit
Cet enfant sur la paille endormi
C'est l'amour infini
C'est l'amour infini 

Sweet night, holy night
In the heavens, the star shines
The heralded rite has been fulfilled
This child asleep on the straw
Is infinite love
Is infinite love



This song has become a Christmas favourite of children in Germany. Though many people think it is a traditional song it was in fact written by Rolf Zuckowski in 1987 for the TV show “Wetter, dass…?” (Wanna bet that…?).

Zuckowski has sold over 13 million copies of his albums of children’s songs, making him one of the most commercially successful artists to come out of Germany.


In der Weihnachtsbäckerei
gibt es manche Leckerei
Zwischen Mehl und Milch
macht so mancher Knilch
eine riesengroße Kleckerei
In der Weihnachtsbäckerei
In der Weihnachtsbäckerei

Wo ist das Rezept geblieben
von den Plätzchen, die wir lieben?
Wer hat das Rezept… verschleppt?

Na, dann müssen wir es packen
einfach frei nach Schnauze backen
Schmeißt den Ofen an… und ran!


Brauchen wir nicht Schokolade,
Honig, Nüsse und Succade
und ein bischen Zimt…? Das stimmt

Butter, Mehl und Milch verrühren
zwischendurch einmal probieren
und dann kommt das Ei… vorbei!


Bitte mal zur Seite treten
denn wir brauchen Platz zum kneten
Sind die Finger rein…? Du Schwein!

Sind die Plätzchen, die wir stechen,
erstmal auf den Ofenblechen
warten wir gespannt… verbrannt!


In the Christmas bakery
There are lots of tasty treats
Amongst the flour and the milk
Some naughty boy
Makes an enormous mess
In the Christmas bakery
In the Christmas bakery

Where is the recipe
For the biscuits that we love?
Who has taken the recipe… away?

Well, then we have to manage it
We’ll just have to bake it up
Turn on the oven… let’s go!


Don’t we need chocolate,
Honey, nuts and candied fruits
And a little bit of cinnamon…? That’s right

Mix the butter, flour and milk together
In between taste it
And then comes the egg… missed!


Please step aside
Because we need room to knead (the dough)
Are your fingers clean…? You pig!

When the biscuits, which we prick (to decorate),
Are already on the baking trays
We wait excitedly… burnt!



GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 7
Meanwhile, back in the GDR…

…they had been singing rock in German for years, especially since the early 1970s when the Ostrock scene started to blossom. Some fascinating music emerged, but rock fans in West Germany were mostly either unaware or uninterested in what was happening on the other side of the wall.

This song was recorded by Stern Combo Meißen in 1978. Their name means ‘stars of Meißen’, Meißen being the town in Saxony where they come from. Here their driving use of synths and sequencers (not typical of their output) invites comparisons to acts like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. It appears on the compilation “Kosmos – Soundtracks Of Eastern Germany’s Adventures In Space”.

Thanks to Milia13 at lyrics translate for the translation.


Immer schneller voraus,
Immer weiter hinaus
Will der Mensch, mein Freund,
In dieser Zeit, mein Freund.
Und manche Zukunftsvision,
Die ist Wahrheit schon.
Es geht los, mein Freund,
Keinen Tag versäumt
Was uns die kosmische Welt
Noch verborgen hält,
Wirst du sehen, mein Freund,
Und verstehen, mein Freund.
Und dieser uralte Traum,
Nach fernen Welten zu schauen,
Der ist Wirklichkeit.
Komm, steig ein, mein Freund
Stoß mit der Flamme der Kraft
Dich von der Erde ab
Und flieg, und flieg
Was uns die kosmische Welt
Noch verborgen hält,
Wirst du sehen, mein Freund,
Und verstehen, mein Freund.
Und dieser uralte Traum,
Nach fernen Welten zu schauen,
Der ist Wirklichkeit.
Komm steig ein, mein Freund!
Stoß mit der Flamme der Kraft
Dich von der Erde ab,
Und flieg, und flieg…

Always faster ahead
Always further out
Wants a human, my friend
In this time, my friend
And some vision of the future
Is already the truth
It starts, my friend
Didn't miss one day
What the cosmic world
hides from us
You'll see, my friend
And understand, my friend
And this very old dream
To look for far away worlds
Is reality
Come on, get in, my friend
Take off from the ground
with the flame of power
And fly, and fly
What the cosmic world
hides from us
You'll see, my friend
And understand, my friend
And this very old dream
To look for far away worlds
Is reality
Come on, get in, my friend
Take off from the ground
with the flame of power
And fly, and fly…


In (in German) can mean both in and into.
For position you use the dative case: In dem Kosmos
For movement you use the accusative case: In den Kosmos (as in the song).


GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 6
The real birth of German language rock

German language rock certainly existed before Udo Lindenberg, but it was his pioneering efforts that showed that this music had a sizeable audience. This track is from “Ball Pompös” (Grandiose Ball, 1974), his second album with his band, the Panikorchester, who are referred to humourously in the lyrics. “Ball Pompös” was the first German language rock LP to reach the top ten in Deutschland. A couple of years later Lindenberg recorded a version of this song for his ill fated English language album “No Panic”, which you can hear below.

These days Udo Lindenberg is an icon of German music, a grizzled rock and roll survivor, a kind of homegrown Keith Richards.

NB The lyrics include a tiny bit of Italian (in italics).


Neulich war ich mal wieder in Amerika 
und da traf ich einen Herrn von der Mafia 
er lud mich ein in ein Makkaronirestaurant 
und ich dachte: Okay, gehst mal mit 
vielleicht wird das Ganze interessant 

Er sagt: Ich heiße Jonny Controlletti, 
buon giorno, Signor 
Ein kurzer Wink
und 'ne schwarze Limousine fuhr vor 
und später saßen wir da in der Chicago-Bar 
und nach jedem Glas Chianti 
rief er: Hallo Ober, noch 'ne Ladung 
und zwar avanti, avanti 
Und dann packt er sich das Glas, das volle 
und sagt: Alles unter Kontrolle

Er hatte 'n Streifenanzug an 
und Gamaschen wie Al Capone 
und die Beule in der Jacke, 
die kam von der Kanone 

Dann wollte er noch wissen 
wie's denn überhaupt so wäre 
mit dem Showbusiness in Deutschland 
und speziell auch mit meiner Karriere 
ich sag': Ich mach' da grad so'n Ding 
mit 'ner höllisch heißen Panik-Band 
Und Jonny Controlletti 
übernahm sofort das Management

Er sagt: Si, si, Signor 
wir machen das perfekt und schnell 
die Jungs vom Syndikat 
sind enorm professionell 
Und so saßen wir da in der Chicago-Bar 
und er sagt: Alles klar, mein Bester 
ich mach' dich über Nacht zum Superstar 
dich und dein Katastrophen-Orchester 
Und dann reicht er mir das Glas, das volle 
und sagt: Alles unter Kontrolle

The other day I was back in America
And there I met a gentleman from the Mafia
He invited me to a macaroni restaurant
And I thought: OK, if I go with him
Maybe the whole thing will be interesting

He says: My name is Jonny Controlletti
Good morning, sir
A quick signal
And a black Limousine drove up
And later we sat in the Chicago bar
And after every glass of Chianti
He shouted: Hello waiter, let's reload
And hurry up!
And then he grabs the glass, the full one
And says: Everything is under control

He was wearing a striped suit
And spats like Al Capone
And the bulge in his jacket 
That came from the gun

Then he wanted to know
How things are
With show business in Germany
And especially with my career
I say: I'm doing a thing
With the hellishly hot Panic band
And Jonny Controlletti
Took over the management immediately

He says: Yes, yes, sir
We'll do it perfectly and quickly
The guys from the syndicate 
Are tremendously professional
And so we sat there in the Chicago bar
And he says: Everything's OK, my dear
I'll make you a superstar overnight
You and your catastrophe orchestra
And then he hands me the glass, the full one
And says: Everything is under control


This song contains lots of songs in the präteritum (the German equivalent of the past simple).
One way to learn verbs is with the infinitive, the third person singular of the present (which is often irregular), the präteritum and past participle. Here are some of the verbs used in the song (in the präteritum) in all these forms.

treffen (meet): trifft – traf – getroffen
einladen (invite): lädt ein – lud ein – eingeladen
denken (think): denkt – dachte – gedacht
fahren (drive): fährt – fuhr – gefahren
sitzen (sit): sitzt- saß – gesessen
rufen (call): ruft – rief – gerufen
übernehmen (take over): übernimmt – übernahm – übergenommen


Four years ago I posted my compilation of Spanish language rock from the Sixties. This year I have been adding lyrics for several of the “missing” songs to this blog, and with this entry all 28 songs are finally included…

This track from 1966 is generally considered the first original rock single in Argentina. The band had little money or equipment, which led to one member of the group imitating a “fuzz guitar” sound with his mouth. The only single by Los Beatniks was generally ignored, and it was Los Gatos with “La Balsa” the following year who broke through. The B-side of that single was written by ex-Beatnik Moris, who enjoyed a successful solo career. The other former members went on to the groups Manal (who have featured on this blog) and La Barra de Chocolate.


Rebelde me llama la gente
rebelde es mi corazón
soy libre y quieren hacerme
esclavo de una tradición

Todo se hace por interés
porque este mundo es al revés
si, todo esto hay que cambiar
siendo rebelde se puede empezar


¿Por qué el hombre quiere luchar,
aproximando la guerra nuclear?
¡Cambien las armas por el amor
y haremos un mundo mejor!


Yeah, rebelde seré
Yeah, rebelde hasta el fin
Yeah, y así moriré

People call me a rebel
My heart is rebellious
I’m free and they want to make me
A slave to tradition

They do everything for self interest
Because this world is upside down
Yes, all this has to change
You can begin by being a rebel


Why do men want to fight
Bringing nuclear war closer?
Swap arms for love
And we could make a better world!


Yeah, I'll be a rebel
Yeah, a rebel untilthe end
Yeah, and that's how I'll die



UKW were a German new wave (NDW) band, and their name, an abbreviation of UltraKurzWelle (UKW=VHF i.e. very high frequency) is presumably a reference to the wave aspect of the scene. This was a hit in 1982, the same year as the like-minded “Ich will Spaß” by Markus.


Ich träum’ so vor mich hin (ja!),
Gedanken sausen mir durch den Sinn.
Ich träum’ von all den Sachen,
Die ich will, und die mir Spaß machen.
Träume soll’n Schäume sein (soso!),
Das will in meinen Kopf nicht rein.
Und wer so denkt soll weiter träumen,
Ich versuche meinen Träumen den Weg frei zu räumen.

Es gibt nichts, was mich noch hält,
Schöne Grüße an den Rest der Welt!
Ja, ich will, was mir gefällt,
Ja, ich will, was mir gefällt,
Es gibt nichts, was mich noch hält,
Ja, ich will, will, will, will, will, was mir gefällt.
La, la, la, la, la, la, oh, oh...
Will nicht mehr bitte sagen (nein!)
Nicht um Erlaubnis fragen,
Will nicht länger artig sein,
Ein Dickkopf sein, ja das wär fein (wär fein)
Will machen, was mir passt (ja!),
Auch wenn der Rest der Welt mich hasst.
Was gut ist für mich, weiß ich selber,
Lauf der Herde nicht mehr nach, wie die anderen Kälber.
Es gibt nichts, was mich noch hält,
Schöne Grüße an den Rest der Welt!

I dream to myself (yes!)
Thoughts rushing through my mind
I dream about all the things
That I want and I enjoy
Dreams are said to be froth (so so!)
I can’t fit that idea in my head
And whoever thinks so should keep on dreaming
I try to make space for my dreams
Nothing can stop me
Best wishes to the rest of the world!
Yes, I want what I like
Yes, I want what I like
Nothing can stop me
Yes, I want, want, want, want, want what I like
La, la, la, la, la, la, oh, oh...
I don’t want to say ‘please’ anymore (no!)
Or to ask for permission
I don’t want to behave myself any longer
A pigheaded guy, yes that’d be fine (would be fine)
I want to do what suits me (yes!)
Even if the rest of the world hates me
What’s good for me, I know myself
I won’t run with the pack like the other hounds
Nothing can stop me
Best wishes to the rest of the world!


One way to say you like something in German is with the modal verb mögen. It is used with the accusative.

Ich mag den Film. – I like the film.
Ich mag die Filme. – I like the films.

Another way to say you like something is with gefallen. Literally it translates as something is pleasing, but we rarely say that in English. It is used with the dative.

Der Film gefällt mir. – I like the film (the film is pleasing to me).

If the subject is plural we use gefallen rather than gefällt.

Die Filme gefallen mir. – I like the films (the films are pleasing to me).

NB The structure might seem a bit strange to English speakers, however if you know Spanish then gefallen functions in a similar way to gustar. To emphasise the similarity I have changed the word order of the German examples below. This is allowed as long as the verb remains in second place.

Mir gefällt der Film. – Me gusta la película. – I like the film.
Mir gefallen die Filme. – Me gustan las películas. – I like the films.

Finally, another way to say you like an activity is with gern. This adverb comes after the main verb.

Ich sehe gern Filme. – I like watching films.