GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 10
What’s the difference between Krautrock and German Prog?

Krautrock, which has become essential listening for hipsters, was basically a particularly characterful strand of German progressive rock. Germany also produced progressive rock bands who were more influenced by British bands like Genesis, but they are much less well known outside their home country.

One of the most successful of these groups was Novalis. This track is from their self titled second album from 1975 (they sang in English on their debut). At this point the band featured the guitarist Carlo Karges. He went on to success with Nena in the 1980s, co-writing their mega hit “99 Luftballons”.

Thanks to Coriander at lyrics translate for the translation. I have made a couple of tiny changes.


Wer Schmetterlinge lachen hört
Der weiß, wie Wolken schmecken
Der wird im Mondschein, ungestört
von Furcht, die Nacht entdecken
Der wird zur Pflanze, wenn er will
zum Tier, zum Narr, zum Weisen
und kann in einer Stunde
durchs ganze Weltall reisen
Der weiß, dass er nichts weiß
Wie alle anderen auch nichts wissen
Nur weiß er, was die anderen
Und auch er noch lernen müssen

Wer in sich fremde Ufer spürt
and Mut hat sich zu recken
Der wird allmählich, ungestört
von Furcht, sich selbst entdecken
Abwärts zu den Gipfeln
Seiner selbst blickt er hinauf
Den Kampf mit seiner Unterwelt
Nimmt er gelassen auf

Wer Schmetterlinge lachen hört
Der weiß, wie Wolken schmecken
Der wird im Mondschein, ungestört
von Furcht, die Nacht entdecken
Wer mit sich selbst in Frieden lebt
Der wird genauso sterben
und ist selbst dann lebendiger
als alle seine Erben

Whoever hears butterflies laughing
He knows how clouds taste
He will in the moonlight, undisturbed
by fear, discover the night
He will become a plant, if he so desires
an animal, a fool, a wise man
and can in an hour
travel across the entire universe
He knows that he knows nothing
Just like everybody else knows nothing
He only knows what everybody else
As well as himself, still need to learn
Whoever senses in himself foreign shores
and has the courage to stretch
He will gradually, undisturbed
by fear, discover himself
Downhill from the summit
He glances up at himself
The battle with his underworld
He takes on calmly
Whoever hears butterflies laughing
He knows how clouds taste
He will in the moonlight, undisturbed
by fear, discover the night
Whoever lives in peace with himself
He will die the same way
And will be even more alive
than all of his heirs



Here is another great performance by the Comedian Harmonists, this time from 1933. They were inspired by American jazz groups, notably The Revelers, but the charming results sound have plenty of German character.
This is one of several songs associated with the Comedian Harmonists that have been revived by Max Raabe in more recent times.


So ein Kuss kommt von allein
Nur verliebt braucht man zu sein
Ob man arm ist oder reich ist
Ob man erster Klasse, 
zweiter Klasse, dritter Klasse fährt
Ist ein Kuss niemals zu sehen
Doch man muss ihn gut verstehen
Weil er wichtig ist, schrecklich wichtig ist
Wenn es heißt: Ich liebe dich.
Ach, mir fehlt Erfahrung
Hab' ja keine Ahnung
wie ein Kuss entsteht
Nicht gleich daran denken,
Erst die Blümlein schenken
Bis man sich versteht
Ich bringe Blumen Ihnen, küss' galant die Hand
Und alles and're kommt von selber
Ach, jetzt kommt das Küssen
Und ich glaub' zu wissen
wie ein Kuss entsteht!

Such a kiss comes by itself
You only need to be in love
Whether you are rich or poor
Whether you travel in first class,
second class or third class
A kiss can never be seen
But you have to understand it well
Because it is important, terribly important
When it means: I love you
Oh, I lack experience
I’ve got no idea
How a kiss arises
Don’t think about it straight away
First give pretty flowers
Until you understand each other
I bring you flowers, gallantly kiss your hand
And everything else comes by itself
Oh, now comes the kissing
And I think I know
How a kiss arises!


France Gall, arguably the definitive ye-ye girl, died last month aged 70. Even in the joyful musical climate of the 1960s she stood out as a ray of pop sunshine. With this song she becomes the first artist to feature on this blog singing in three different languages: Spanish, French and German.

If three languages aren’t enough for you, it turns out the original version of this song was “La pioggia”, written in Italian for the 1969 Sanremo music festival. In that edition each song was sung by two different artists, and “La pioggia” was performed by Gigliola Cinquetti (who won Eurovision in 1964) and France Gall (who won the following year). They sang separately – a duet would have been awesome – and the song finished in sixth place. After the contest they released competing single versions in both Italian and Spanish.

The single was released in 1969 but I think this Spanish TV performance dates from a year or two later.

RIP France Gall.


El periódico informó
que el tiempo cambiará
hay nubes negras en el cielo
y los pájaros allí
no volarán ya más
¿por qué será?
Yo no cambiaré,
No, no cambiaré
mas si el mundo loco está
no me importa a mi
La lluvia
No moja nuestro amor cuando yo soy feliz
La lluvia
La lluvia ya no existe si me miras tú
El paraguas tíralo,
pues no sirve ya
…no sirve ya, no sirve ya
El termómetro bajó
el sol ya se ocultó
el frio ya llegó, mas nuestro amor
jamás se enfriará
y no se apagará
¿sabes por qué?
Yo no cambiaré,
No, no cambiaré
mas si el mundo loco está
no me importa a mi
La lluvia
No moja nuestro amor cuando yo soy feliz

The newspaper reported
That the weather will change
There are black clouds in the sky
And the birds there
Won’t fly anymore
How could it be?
I won’t change
No, I won’t change
But if the world is crazy
I don’t care
The rain
Don’t dampen our love when I'm happy
The rain
The rain’s no longer there if you look at me
The umbrella - throw it away
Since it’s no use now
…it’s no use now, it’s no use now 

The thermometer went down
The sun was hiding
The cold has arrived, but our love
Will never get cold
And it won’t die
Do you know why?
I won’t change
No, I won’t change
But if the world is crazy
I don’t care
The rain
Don’t dampen our love when I'm happy


GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 9
Whatever happened to the Beat Fräuleins?

In my series about German pop in the 1960s I featured several cool female singers, both deutsche girls and French ye-ye girls singing in German. Sadly many of these women seem to have had career problems at the end of the sixties. Most of them either disappeared or embraced Schlager in order to survive. One notable exception was Françoise Hardy who continued to be effortlessly cool into the early seventies.

Hardy recorded this song on her second German language album “Träume” in 1970. She had previously recorded the original English version “Strange Shadows” and she also recorded a French version titled “L’Ombre” – I guess she really liked this song!

Three years earlier Johnny Hallyday had recorded his own French version “Son Amour Pour Un Jeu” (1967), with completely different lyrics. The original song was co-written by the English musician Mick Jones who worked with both Hardy and Hallyday as well as many other French artists.


Warum macht man das Glück uns so schwer
Fremde Schatten sind rings um uns her
Rufen dich, rufen mich
Wo ist das Licht?

Fremde Schatten verdunkeln den Tag
Und das Licht, das ich suche, und frag
Wo das Glück für mich ist?
Das find ich nicht

Wo ist der, der mir Antwort gibt
Oder wer hört mir zu?
Wo ist der, der mich wirklich liebt?
Wo find ich endlich Ruh?

Keiner hat mir die Antwort gebracht
Und ich geh ganz allein durch die Nacht
Such mein Glück und das Licht
Und find es nicht


Die Schatten, sie rufen
Die Schatten rufen dich und mich…

Why is happiness being made so hard for us
Strange shadows circle around us
Calling you, calling me
Where is the light?

Strange shadows darken the day
And the light I’m searching for, and ask
‘Where is my happiness?’
I don’t find it

Where is the one who will give me an answer
Or the one who will listen to me? 
Where is the one who really loves me?
Where will I find peace at last?

No one has brought me the answer
And I go all alone through the night
Seeking my happiness and the light
And I don’t find it


The shadows, they’re calling
The shadows calling  you and me…



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: http://www.bethsnotesplus.com/2017/01/schnitzelbank.html, 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: http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=2967


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!