GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 3
Krautrock and the Neu! family tree

German rock and pop music is generally either unknown or laughed at in the UK. The main exception to this rule is Krautrock, a German version of progressive rock from the 1970s, which has become a hipster’s favourite. I recommend the book “Future Days” by David Stubbs for those who would like to investigate if further. One of the interesting things that Stubbs reveals is that most Krautrock bands were not popular in Germany at the time, and even today they are better known in the UK and the US than in their homeland.

Krautrock groups tended to concentrate on instrumentals, and when they did sing in was usually in English. Neu!, one of the most influential bands on the scene, were no different. The closest they came to a traditional song was the brilliant “Hero”. When they broke up their guitarist Michael Rother went on to Harmonia while drummer Klaus Dinger formed La Düsseldorf, and both these bands have already featured on this blog.

This song is from La Düsseldorf’s eponymous debut album which was released in 1976. Initially the lyrics switch between German, English, French and Italian, but the main body of the song is in German.


German: Zeit…
English: Time
French: Le temps
Italian: Il tempo
German: Zeit vergeht
French: Se passe
English: Goes by

German: Zeit
Meine Zeit - deine Zeit
Unsere Zeit - keine Zeit
Frühlingszeit - Mädchenzeit
Kinderzeit - Rollschuhzeit
Weihnachtszeit - höchste Zeit
Jede Zeit - neue Zeit
Zeit - Zeit

Zeit ist Geld - schwere Zeit    
Ohne Zeit - höfliche Zeit (?)
Omas Zeit - liebe Zeit           
Kurze Zeit - Ewigkeit    
Zeit - Zeit - Zeit - Zeit

Zeit vergeht…



Time goes by
Goes by
Goes by

My time - your time
Our time - no time
Springtime - girl time
Childhood - roller-skating time
Christmas time - highest time
Every time - new time
Time - time

Time is money - hard time
Without time - courteous time
Grandma’s time - loving time
Short time - eternity
Time - time - time - time

Time passes…




GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 2
Squatting in the German underground

In the 1970s, as in the 1960s, most German rock bands sang in English. English was cool: it was the language of rock. In contrast Deutsch was the language of Schlager and most German rock fans didn’t want to hear it.

One group who went against this trend were Ton Steine Scherben, an underground band who formed at the start of the Seventies. This is the title track of their self released debut album from 1971. It is an extraordinarily crude yet inspired effort that anticipates punk. The rebellious lyrics endeared them to the far left, not least the squatting scene. The first side of the vinyl, including this song, was recorded live.

Their somewhat mysterious name translates literally as ‘Clay Stone Shards’. However, Ton also has the meaning of sound (tone) and a Rolling Stones reference is clearly intended – The Broken Stone Tones?


Warum geht es mir so dreckig, 
was kann ich allein dagegen tun?

Sieben Uhr aufstehen, 
Kaffee trinken,
zur Arbeit fahren, 
freundlich sein, 
den Chef grüßen,
nicht sagen, was ich denke, 
nicht denken, was ich sage.
Ich möchte am liebsten tot sein 
und von allem nichts mehr sehen…

Fünf Uhr, Feierabend, 
zum Bus rennen,
„n' Abend Alter, n' Abend Alte“,
in die nächste Kneipe gehen, 
Bier trinken.
Ich möchte so besoffen sein, 
dass ich alles nicht mehr seh'…

Soll ich morgen abhauen
und gehen, wohin ich will?
Soll ich die Papiere holen 
und machen, was ich will?
Soll ich mir 'n Schuß machen
und von allem nichts mehr sehen?
Ich möchte endlich frei sein, 
aber wohin soll ich gehen?
Warum geht es mir so dreckig? …

Why do I feel so miserable 
What can I do about it on my own?
Get up at seven o'clock
Drink coffee
Go to work
Be friendly
Greet the boss,
Don’t say what I think
Don’t think what I say.
I'd rather be dead 
And not see anything else…

Five o'clock, work ends, 
Run to the bus,
“(Good) evening old man, evening old girl”
Go to the next pub, 
Drink beer.
I want to be so drunk 
That I can’t see anything anymore…
Should I do a runner tomorrow 
And go wherever I want?
Should I get my documents 
And do what I want?
Should I shoot myself 
and see no more of it all?
I’d like to finally be free
But where should I go?
Why am I so miserable? …


GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 1
Flush your toilet if you like this song

Following on from my series on German pop and rock in the 1960s, I will now investigate the 1970s…

Vivi Bach and Dietmar Schönherr were a glamorous husband and wife team. They had a hit in Germany with their controversial TV show “Wünsch Dir Was” (“Make A Wish”) in the early Seventies. Three families, one each from Germany, Switzerland and Austria competed on Saturday evenings in the Deutsch speaking equivalent of “The Generation Game”. You could vote for the family you wanted to win by flushing your toilet – national water consumption at that moment was measured to choose the winner!

Here they duet on a truly bizarre number which mixes Schlager with proto-punk lyrics. It appears on the kitsch compilation “The In-Kraut”.

Thanks to Steena at Lyrics Translate. I also took some information from this page.


Kommt zur Molotov Cocktail Party, 
Cocktail Party, Cocktail Party
Und bringt 'ne Tüte Dynamit mit
Denn zur Molotov Cocktail Party, 
Cocktail Party, Cocktail Party
Bringt man statt Blumen Dynamit mit

Anarchisten und Faschisten,
Sind gebeten, unsere Feten 
Nur mit Sprengstoff zu betreten


Am heißen Büfett 
ist eine Puppe schnell 'ne blaue Bohnensuppe
Und die Gästen stehen so dumm, dumm rum
Die kalte Mamsell, die kommt herbei, 
verspeist ein Handgranatenei
Und bringt den Tellerminenwäscher um, um


Delinquenten und Agenten, 
Wir geraten, die Granaten 
Nicht in Barbeque zu braten


Come to the Molotov cocktail party, 
Cocktail party, cocktail party
And bring a carrier bag full of dynamite
‘Cos to a Molotov cocktail Party 
Cocktail party, cocktail party
You bring dynamite instead of flowers

Anarchists and fascists, 
Monopoly capitalists 
May only attend our parties 
With explosives


At the hot buffet 
A doll gobbles up a blue bullet soup
And the guests stand around so dumb, dumb
The cold Mademoiselle comes over
Eats a hand grenade egg
And kills the anti-tank mine washer


Delinquents and agents
Plastic bomb producers 
We advise, the grenades
Don’t fry them on the barbecue


NB “Blaue Bohnen” are literally blue beans but this is German slang for bullets. The lyrics also make a pun on dumdum bullets. More hard to translate wordplay: Tellermine is a land mine and Tellerwäscher is a dishwasher.
NB ‘ne which appears a couple of times in the lyrics is an abbreviation of eine.


Zu can mean ‘to’, as in going to a place. Zu is always followed by the dative case.
There are two contractions: zu dem = zum, zu der = zur.
Party in German is feminine:

Kommt zur Molotov Cocktail Party


My series on German rock in the sixties features a track by Team 4, one of the first groups in the Ostrock movement in East Germany. Groups in the GDR needed a licence from the state in order to perform and this was hard to get in the 1960s.

In the 1970s the regulations were relaxed somewhat and more of a scene started to develop, giving rise to bands like Transit. This is their most popular track from 1975. It features witty lyrics in which the singer returns home to stay with his parents on the coast when he gets sick of city life. In fact frontman Egon Linde did grow up on the Baltic coast.


Heut’ hab’ ich mal die Nase wieder richtig voll
Vom Leben in der großen Stadt
Da fährt eine Menge ab      
Das find ich schon ganz toll
Doch auf die Dauer kann ich das nicht ab

Dann spüre ich in mir überhaupt keine Ruh
Es kribbelt mächtig unter meiner Haut
Das Kribbeln, ja das kenn ich
Und ich weiß schon was ich tue 
Ich renn' zum Zug, das Nötigste verstaut

Ich fahr’ an die Küste, zu Mutter
Zu den Möwen und dem Wind
Nicht nur wegen der gesunden Lüfte
Auch wegen zwei, drei Kumpel
Die dort aufzutreiben sind

Da bist du ja, sagt Mutter
Und sie freut sich so wie immer
Sie haut was in die Pfanne
Und ich erzähl ihr was von mir
Ich fühl mich wieder wohl
In meinem alten Zimmer
Ja irgendwie schön, das Zimmer hier

Nach paar Tagen 
Nervt dann Mutter über mein Benehmen
Und Vater gefallen die langen Haare nicht
Ich habe keine Lust mich dagegen aufzulehnen
Und sehne mich nach einem Stadtgesicht

Ich fahr’ von der Küste
Zurück zum Leben in der großen Stadt
Trotz der nicht so ganz gesunden Lüfte
Und meiner alten Bude ohne Bad

Today I’m completely fed up again
With living in the big city
There's a lot going on
I find it really great
But in the long run I can’t stand it

Then I feel totally restless
It tingles under my skin
Pins and needles, yes I know it
And I already know what to do
I run to the train, essentials packed

I’m going to the coast, to mother
To the seagulls and the wind
Not just because of the healthy air
Also because of two, three mates
Who can be found there

There you are, says mother
And she’s as happy as always
She slaps something in the frying pan
And I tell her something about myself
I feel well again
In my old room
Somehow it’s nice, the room here

After a couple of days
Mother nags me about my manners
And father doesn’t like my long hair
I don’t feel like rebelling against it
And I long to see a city face

I’m going from the coast
Back to life in the big city
Despite the not so healthy air
And my old bedsit without a bath

If you are a Anfänger (beginner) looking for some graded readers I recommend the ‘leicht & logisch’ series featuring Kolja and his friends. Though aimed at teenagers they are more readable than most of the competition. There are 4 books at A1 level:

Drei ist einer zu viel*
Neu in der Stadt*
Die Sommerferien
Einmal Freunde, immer Freunde

The series continues with 4 more books at A2 level:

Hier kommt Paul*
Neue Freunde
Frisch gestrichen
Kolja und die Liebe*

NB You can read the books in any order, but I have tried to arrange them in a logical story order. I have put an asterisk by the books I enjoyed most.



When the duo Neu! broke up drummer Klaus Dinger went on to form La Düsseldorf, whose track ‘Geld’ featured recently on this blog. Meanwhile guitarist Michael Rother moved back to his other group Harmonia. Harmonia were basically an instrumental band, and this is the title track of their second album from 1975. These minimal lyrics are the only words that appear on the album, though they are repeated on the track “Monza (rauf und runter)”.

NB I couldn’t find a video of the original. This faithful cover by The Secret Machines will have to do.


Immer wieder rauf und runter
Einmal drauf und einmal drunter
Immer wieder hin und her
Kreuz und quer, mal leicht, mal schwer

Again and again, up and down
One time on top, and one time under
Again and again, back and forth
Hither and thither, sometimes easy, sometimes hard


The lyrics looked pretty simple at first. Then I wondered, why ‘Rauf’ rather than ‘Auf’? And so begins another of my occasional voyages into German grammar…

If you are learning German, then after Wo? (where?) you soon come across Wohin? (where to?) and Woher? (where from?) NB Her is pronounced like “here”.
So Hin indicates direction away from the speaker, while Her indicates towards the speaker.
NB Hin and Her are separable.

Wohin gehst du? = Wo gehst du hin? (Where are you going?)
Woher kommst du? = Wo kommst du her? (Where do you come from?)

Hin and Her can also be used as prefixes to create new verbs.
e.g. Herkommen (Come here)

Komm bitte her! Ich muss mit dir redden. (Come here. I must talk to you.)

e.g. Hingehen (Go away/Pass)

Geht bitte irgendwo anders hin! Ich brauche Ruhe! (Please go somewhere else! I need quiet!)

Hin and Her with prepositions.

Hin and Her also combine with prepositions, and the result is usually abbreviated.

Aus (out) => Hinaus, Heraus => Raus

i.e. Both are abbreviated to Raus, which seems logical enough for Heraus, but less so for Hinaus!
NB Aus (out) must be used with an object i.e. out of something, but Raus can be used without an object.

Ich gehe aus dem Haus. I’m going out of the house.
Ich gehe raus. I’m going out.

Ein (in) => Hinein, Herein => Rein

Ich gehe in das Haus. I’m going into the house.
Ich gehe rein. I’m going in.

Auf (up) => Hinauf, Herauf => Rauf

Ich gehe (auf den Berg) rauf. I’m going up (the mountain).

Unter (under) => Hinunter, Herunter=> Runter

Ich gehe (in den Kellar) runter. I’m going down (to the cellar).

So finally we have rauf und runter from the song lyrics! The movement they are singing about doesn’t refer to any objects so rauf and runter are used, auf and unter can’t be used.

NB Most of the examples above are taken from this excellent page:



Neu! were one of the most influential Krautrock bands of the Seventies. When the duo broke up after “Neu! ‘75” Klaus Dinger formed La Düsseldorf, a group which maintained the motorik rhythms of his former band while adding more of his proto punk vocals. The new band sold far more records than Neu! ever did, as well as gaining plaudits from David Bowie.

“Geld” is from “Viva” (1978), their second album. The lyrics are mainly in German but it also includes a few lines in English.


Geld ist das Trauma dieser Welt 
Geld langsam ihr Gesicht entstellt
Geld zerbricht unsere Liebe – Geld   
Geld macht aus Engeln Diebe – Geld

Geld regiert die Welt, mein Freund
Egal ob's uns gefällt, mein Joint
Geld heißt leben, geld heißt sterben    
Geld kann vieles uns verderben 

Geld regiert die Welt, zwei drei vier
Egal ob's uns gefällt
Geld macht Krieg und Geld macht Frieden
Geld, Geld, Geld
Geld regiert die Welt

Sieh die schönen Blumen
Sieh die Vögel fliegen…

And make love, make love…
Not war…

Love is love is all you need
Geht ein altes Beatles lied
Love is all you need
All you need…

Aber Geld macht aus Freunden Feinde – Geld   
Geld heißt der Traum von dieser Welt
Geld zerbricht unsere Liebe – Geld   
Geld bis ans Ende
Immer nur Geld, Geld, Geld…

Wir sind nur zu Gast auf Erden
Und wir können glücklich werden
Arbeitslosen, Wirtschaftsbosse
Taugenichtse und Kolosse        

Geld regiert die Welt, mein Joint
Bis die Welt in Scherben fällt
Geld ist nichts und Geld ist alles
Geld, Geld, Geld
Geld regiert die Welt
Behüt' euch Gott

Money is the trauma of this world 
Money gradually disfigures her face
Money breaks our love apart - money 
Money makes angels thieves - money 

Money rules the world, my friend 
Whether or not we like it, my joint 
Money means to live, money means to die
Money can spoil what we have 

Money rules the world, two three four 
Whether or not we like it 
Money makes war and money makes peace 
Money, money, money 
Money rules the world 

Look at the beautiful flowers 
Look at the birds flying…

And make love, make love…
Not war…

Love is love is all you need 
Goes an old Beatles’ song 
Love is all you need 
All you need…

But money makes friends enemies - money 
Money means the dream of this world
Money breaks our love apart - money 
Money to the end 
Always only money, money, money…

We are only a guest on Earth 
And we can be happy 
Unemployed people, business bosses 
Good for nothings and colossi 

Money rules the world, my joint 
Until the world shatters into pieces 
Money is nothing and money is everything 
Money, money, money 
Money rules the world 
May God protect you



Following on from my post on Rammstein, here is another sing-a-long special.

Kraftwerk are probably the most critically acclaimed and influential group to come out of Germany. They often released their songs in both German and English versions, and like most British people I have become familiar with the latter versions.

Here I will look at some of their German lyrics, focusing on the choruses and the pronunciation so you can sing along in authentic Deutsch.

For full translations look here: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/kraftwerk-lyrics.html


This single from the “Man Machine” album has a simple chorus which sounds fairly similar in both languages.

Wir sind die Roboter

We are the robots


The letter ‘w’ becomes a /v/ sound in German, so Wir sounds a bit like We’re (the contraction of ‘We are’) but starting with a /v/.

The letter s at the start of a word becomes  /z/, so the second word sounds like zint.

For roboter keep the ‘o’ sounds short and avoid the temptation to make an English ‘oh’ sound (I don’t think this exists in German). Also notice how the –er ending sounds quite similar to English, but it is formed slightly higher in the mouth.

So the chorus is something like: ve’re zint dee roboter

Or if you understand phonetic symbols: vi:ɐ̯ zɪnt di: ˈrɔbɔtɐ


This song, Kraftwerk’s breakthrough hit, is one of the few that doesn’t have an English version. For many years I assumed they were singing ‘Fun, fun, fun…’, only now have I finally realised that they sing ‘Fahren, fahren, fahren…’. The verb fahren means to drive.

Wir fahren, fahren, fahren auf der Autobahn

We drive, drive, drive on the motorway

However, it does sound like ‘fun’ and I  still think it is a reference to the Beach Boys song ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ from 1964.


German has long and short vowels, but then so does English.

The short German /a/ is similar to the short English ‘a’ in ‘man’, but even shorter.

The long German /a:/ is similar to the long English ‘a’ in ‘car’.

If a vowel is followed by a (silent) h then it is long so ‘bahn’ sounds like ‘barn’.

Die Bahn can mean path, way or railway.

However, the diphthong ‘au’ sounds similar to ‘ow’ as in ‘cow’.

So die Autobahn sounds something like /Ow-toe-barn/.

Fahren, like the infinitive of most German verbs ends in –en. However the e before the n is hardly pronounced. On the lyrics translate version it is actually written fahr’n to reflect this.


The English version of this song is called ‘Europe Endless’.


The German diphthongs ‘eu’ and ‘äu’ create an ‘oy’ sound like in ‘boy’.

The ‘o’ is long  in Europa but short in Endlos, so the refrain sounds something like /oy-roh-pe endlos/.

Other words that include the ‘oy’ sound include: neu (new), ein Euro (one Euro) and Fräulein (Miss). Also Räuber (robber – remember this song?).

There is clearly potential to get confused between the ‘au’ (an ‘ow’ sound – see above) and the ‘äu’. Many German nouns change between these to distinguish between singular and plural.

Der Traum, die Träume – the dream(s)

Der Baum, die Bäume – the tree(s)

Die Maus, die Mäuse – the mouse (mice)

For more detail on German pronunciation I recommend this site:




Let’s stick with Brigitte, but jump back a decade…
NB This song is Track 2, Side 2 and it starts at 18:47 in the above video.
‘Vous et Nous’ (‘You & Us’) was released in 1977 by Brigitte Fontaine and Areski Belkacem. It’s an unusual double album, and most of the tracks are short with sparse, minimal arrangements. It suggests that Fontaine would have had little trouble fitting in with the post punk scene, but as mentioned in the previous post, she stopped recording for most of the 1980s, concentrating instead on the theatre.
This track is something of a hidden gem, one of the most beautiful and accesible songs she has ever recorded.
Thanks to Domuro at Lyrics Translate who made some corrections to my original translation.


Les rivières de l’amour parfait
Doucement coulaient
Sur les pierres au soleil de minuit
Une nuit

Les chansons comme des oiseaux
À travers les monts
Et les mots demandaient leur chemin
En chemin

Tu hésitais sur le bord
Du secret aux flots d’or
Et tu courais en pleurant
Tu tombais en riant

Les chevaux tout chargés de fleurs
Chargés de cadeaux
Et d’erreurs marchaient vers un palais
Le palais

Ils suivaient l’étoile du jour
L’astre sans retour
Ils dansaient au-dessus de la mort
Sans remords

Tu découvrais que le roi
Du secret c’était toi
Depuis toujours tu jouais
Dans la cour du palais

Les rivières de l’amour parfait
Doucement coulaient
Sur les pierres au soleil de minuit
Une nuit

The rivers of perfect love
Were gently flowing
Over the stones under the midnight sun
One night
Songs like birds
Over the Mountains
And the words were asking their way
On the way
You hesitated on the edge
Of the secret of the streams of gold
You were running in tears
You fell down laughing
The horses laden with flowers
Laden with gifts
And with mistakes, were walking towards a palace
The palace
They followed the star of day
The star of no return
They danced over death
Without remorse
You found out that the king
Holding the secret was you
You have always been playing
In the palace courtyard
The rivers of perfect love
Were gently flowing
Over the stones under the midnight sun
One night


This week I’m chilling out to the sound of Caterina Valente (a favourite at Spanish Pop Lyrics). Here she performs with her brother Silvio Francesco, singing a Spanish version of the classic “I Say A Little Prayer” (written by Bacharach and David). It appears on their 1971 album “Latin Voices And Guitars”.

The lyrics are pretty close to the original, but I’ve translated them back into English anyway.

Thanks to Nestre at lyrics translate for supplying the Spanish lyrics.


Cuando me levanto,
primero que nada, rezo.
Yo rezo una oración por ti.
Juntando mis manos
le pido al Señor que vuelvas.
Yo rezo una oración por ti

Por siempre, por siempre,
quisiera estar junto a ti, te quiero.
Por siempre, por siempre,
los dos unidos, pues yo te quiero.
Muy juntos, muy juntos, 
Muy juntos siempre, muy juntos siempre
Por eso le rezo al Señor

Le pido que tenga
la suerte de estar contigo
Yo rezo una oración por ti.
Estoy trabajando 
y cuando estoy descansando
Yo rezo una oración por ti.


Tu puedes creerme
Pues yo ya no vivo sin ti.
Quiero tu amor
Siempre te amaré
Dime que sí
Tendré tu amor


Tu puedes creerme...

When I get up
Before anything else, I pray
I say a prayer for you
With my hands together
I ask the Lord that you return
I say a prayer for you

Forever, forever
I want to be with you, I love you
Forever, forever
The two of us together, well, I love you
Close together, close together
Close together forever, close together forever
I pray to the Lord for this

I pray that I have
The luck to be with you
I say a prayer for you
I'm working 
And when I'm relaxing
I say a prayer for you


You can believe me
Well, now I can't live without you
I want your love
I will always love you
Tell me yes
I will have your love


You can believe me...



This was recorded in 1971 but it wasn’t released until 1976, appearing on the outakes and b-sides collection ‘Odd Ditties’. It is a duet between Ayers and Bridget St John, a singer-songwriter who was signed to John Peel’s Dandelion label at the time. The duo were reunited in 2007, singing ‘Baby Come Home’ on Ayers’ final LP ‘The Unfairground’.


Jolie madame
Tu reviens comme le matin
Comme le printemps
Et les autres portants
Du jour

Jolie madame
Le soleil dans tes mains
Toujours bien heureux
Brilliant de bonheur
Du jour

Chansons d'amour
C'est la vrai chanson du monde
Chantez toujours
On va bien chanter ensemble

Jolie madame
Aujourd'hui et demain
Ne perds pas la chance
Pour continuer la danse

Jolie madame
Tu reviens comme le matin
Comme le printemps
Et les autres portants 
Du jour


Pretty lady
You come back like the morning
Like spring
And other healthy signs (?)
Of the day

Pretty lady
The sun in your hands
Always so happy
Shining with the happiness
Of the day

Love songs
This is the truest song in the world
Always sing
We're going to sing well together

Pretty lady
Today and tomorrow
Don't waste the chance
To keep dancing

Pretty lady
You come back like the morning
Like spring
And other healthy signs (?)
Of the day