TIME by LA DÜSSELDORF

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.

TIME

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
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…

Kinderzeit…

Zeit
TIME

Time…
Time
Time
Time
Time goes by
Goes by
Goes by

Time
My time - your time
Our time - no time
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…

Childhood…

Time
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WARUM GEHT ES MIR SO DRECKIG? by TON STEINE SCHERBEN

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?

REFRAIN:
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…

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

REFRAIN
 
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?

CHORUS:
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…

CHORUS
 
Five o'clock, work ends, 
Run to the bus,
“(Good) evening old man, evening old girl”
Dinner,
Go to the next pub, 
Drink beer.
I want to be so drunk 
That I can’t see anything anymore…
 
CHORUS
 
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? …

MOLOTOV COCKTAIL PARTY by VIVI BACH & DIETMAR SCHÖNHERR

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.

MOLOTOV COCKTAIL PARTY

REFRAIN:
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,
Monopolkapitalisten
Sind gebeten, unsere Feten 
Nur mit Sprengstoff zu betreten

REFRAIN

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

REFRAIN

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

REFRAIN
MOLOTOV COCKTAIL PARTY

CHORUS:
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

CHORUS

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

CHORUS

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

CHORUS

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.

GERMAN GRAMMAR:

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

ES IST MIR EGAL by BERNHARD FRANK

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1960s – Postscript

When I was looking for songs for my series on German rock in the 1960s I was really excited to find this track, purportedly by an obscure singer from 1965. Sadly I couldn’t include it the series since it appears to be a (rather convincing) fake, probably recorded around 2009 by friends of Andreas Michalke, the original blogger.
Despite this disappointment I think it still merits our attention, and if you are ‘Bernhard Frank’ please get in touch – I would love to see your band play live!
Thanks to Milia13 and Hansi K Lauer at Lyrics Translate for their help with the text.

ES IST MIR EGAL

Oh, es ist mir egal, 
was du von mir hältst.
Und es ist mir egal, 
wie du dir das mit uns beiden vorstellst.
Und es ist mir egal, 
was du von mir denkst 
(oh, was du von mir denkst).
Und es ist mir egal, 
ob du mir Beachtung oder Geschenke schenkst 
(oh, Beachtung oder).
 
REFRAIN:
Es ist mir schnurzpiepegal
Schnurzpiepegal,
Es ist mir schnurzpiepegal, 
Verdammt noch mal!
 
Es ist mir egal, 
wie du zu mir bist.
Und es ist auch mir egal, 
ob du mich an- oder dich verpisst.
Und es ist mir egal, 
was du mit mir machst 
(was du mit mir machst).
Und es ist mir egal, 
ob du mit mir oder über mich lachst 
(du mit mir oder).
 
REFRAIN
 
(Was du von mir denkst
Beachtung oder
Was du mit mir machst
Mit mir oder)
 
REFRAIN

Total egal
Piepegal
Schnurzpiepegal…
I DON'T CARE

Oh, I don't care 
What you think of me
And I don't care 
What you think about us
And I don't care 
What you think of me 
(Oh, what you think of me)
And I don't care 
If you pay me attention or give me gifts 
(Oh, attention or)
 
CHORUS:
I couldn't care less, 
Couldn't care less
I couldn't care less, 
Damn it!
 
I don't care 
How you treat me
And I also don't care 
If you annoy me or piss off
And I don't care 
What you do to me 
(What you do to me)
And I don't care 
If you're laughing with me or at me
(With me or)

CHORUS

(What you think of me
Attention or
What you do to me 
With me or)

CHORUS

All the same to me
Couldn't care less
Couldn't care less…

SIE LIEBT DICH by THE BEATLES

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1960s – Coda

Click here to hear the song (not on YouTube)

I will end this series by going back to where it all started – Beatlemania. The Beatles released one German language single in 1964, comprising of reworkings of “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (the lyrics were adapted by Camillo Felgen). Apparently The Beatles were not too keen on the idea, since they realised that Germans were quite happy to buy the English originals. Despite this, and the fact that they learnt the lyrics phonetically, this version of “She Loves You” sounds pretty good. Wisely they refrained from changing “yeah, yeah, yeah” into “ja, ja, ja”!

Translation by absolutelsewhere at lyrics translate, but I have made a few slight changes.

SIE LIEBT DICH

Sie liebt dich, yeah, yeah, yeah
Sie liebt dich, yeah, yeah, yeah
Sie liebt dich, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
 
Du glaubst sie liebt nur mich
Gestern hab' ich sie gesehen
Sie denkt ja nur an dich
Und du solltest zu ihr gehen

REFRAIN 1:
Oh, ja sie liebt dich
Schöner kann es gar nicht sein
Ja, sie liebt dich
Und da solltest du dich freuen
 
Du hast ihr weh getan
Sie wusste nicht warum
Du warst nicht schuld daran
Und drehtest dich nicht um

REFRAIN 1
 
REFRAIN 2:
Sie liebt dich, yeah, yeah, yeah
Sie liebt dich, yeah, yeah, yeah
Denn mit dir allein
Kann sie nur glücklich sein
 
Du musst jetzt zu ihr gehen
Entschuldig dich bei ihr
Ja, das wird sie verstehen
Und dann verzeiht sie dir

REFRAIN 1
 
REFRAIN 2
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
SHE LOVES YOU

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
 
You think she loves only me
I saw her yesterday
She only thinks about you
And you ought to go to her

REFRAIN 1:
Oh, yes she loves you
It couldn't be any better
Yes, she loves you
And so you should be glad
 
You hurt her
She didn't know why
You weren't to blame
And you didn't turn around

REFRAIN 1

REFRAIN 2:
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
Because only with you
Can she be happy
 
You have to go to her
Apologize to her
Yes, she'll understand that
And then she'll forgive you

REFRAIN 1
 
REFRAIN 2
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

LA CHANSON by SYLVIE VARTAN

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1960s – Part 11

This series has already featured France Gall and Francoise Hardy, so why not include Sylvie Vartan as well? The sad truth is that the homegrown beat Mädchens were no match for these French ye-ye imports.

“La Chanson” was adapted from French to German by Udo Jürgens in 1966. An influential figure in German language pop, he is perhaps best known for winning the Eurovision Song Contest for Austria that same year. Vartan may not be famous for singing in German, but she is at her best here, giving a passionate performance. This rarity can be found on the compilation “Verlorene Mädchen: Teil 1”.

LA CHANSON

La Chanson, das Lied das mir geblieben
Erzählt mir du wirst mich immer lieben
Doch viel zu schnell vergingen unsere Tage
Wer Antwort sucht, der findet eine Frage

Ja, la Chanson, das Lied das wir gesungen
Ist nun für dich vergessen und verklungen
Und jeder Blick aus deinen Augen sagt: "Vorbei!"

Jedes Wort wollt' diesem Lied ich glauben
Niemand sollt' dieses Glück mir rauben

La Chanson, das Lied hat mich betrogen
Es klang so schön, doch du hast mich belogen
Und viel zu schnell vergingen unsere Stunden
Wir suchten uns und haben nichts gefunden

Ja, la Chanson, das Lied ist mir geblieben
Und tut's auch weh, ich werd' es immer lieben
Ja, heute sing' ich dieses unser Lied nur für dich
Wo du auch bist, wohin's dich auch zieht
Hör’ la Chanson, unser Lied
LA CHANSON

La Chanson, the song that stays with me
Tells me you will always love me
But our days passed by far too fast
One who looks for answers will find a question

Yes, la Chanson, the song that we sang	
Is now forgotten and faded for you
And every look from your eyes says: "It’s over!"

I wanted to believe every word of this song
No one shall rob me of this happiness

La Chanson, the song deceived me
It sounded so beautiful, but you lied to me
And our hours passed by far too fast
We searched for each other and found nothing

Yes, la Chanson, the song stays with me
And it also hurts, I will always love it
Yes, today I sing this, our song, only for you
Wherever you are, wherever you are drawn
Listen to la Chanson, our song

WENN DIESES LIED ERKLINGT by FRANÇOISE HARDY

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1960s – Part 10

Everybody loved Françoise Hardy in the 1960s, and she released albums in four different languages: French, English, Italian and German. Her first German album from 1965 included a mixture of translations of her previous hits alongside new songs written in German. These are exclusive to this release, and here is one of the best. It certainly veers close to Schlager, but the result is still delightful.

WENN DIESES LIED ERKLINGT

Wenn dieses Lied erklingt
Dann bin ich längst gegangen
Wenn dieses Lied erklingt
Wer weiß wo ich dann bin
So schön, so schön hat's einmal angefangen
Doch bald wird's heißen
Aus den Augen aus dem Sinn

Wenn dieses Lied erklingt
Das ich für dich geschrieben
Wenn dieses Lied erklingt
Dann ist's ein Abschiedsgruß
Ich wär so gern, so gern bei dir geblieben
Und dennoch weiß ich 
Dass ich dich verlassen muss

Wenn dieses Lied erklingt…

WHEN THIS SONG SOUNDS

When this song sounds
Then I’m long gone
When this song sounds
Who knows where I am
So beautiful, so beautiful once it began
But soon it will mean 
Out of sight, out of mind 

When this song sounds
That I wrote for you
When this song sounds
Then it's a farewell
I would love to stay with you so much
And yet I still know 
That I must leave you

When this song sounds…

GERMAN GRAMMAR: DIESE

This and these translate as diese in German.

The endings follow the adjective rule which I looked at in a previous post.

For example, in the nominative case:

Dieser Onkel (Masculine)

Dieses Lied (Neuter)

Diese Mutter (Feminine)

Diese Mütter (Plural)

 

NB For that you usually use das e.g. Das denken alle! (Everybody thinks that!)

KAMERA SONG by THE INNER SPACE

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1960s – Part 9

1968: Student riots across Europe (including Germany) and the birth of the underground rock movement.

The Inner Space were an early incarnation of Can, one of the greatest rock groups to come out of Germany. This is the only song they ever recorded in German. It is from their soundtrack to the movie “Agilok & Blubbo” (1969) starring Rosemarie Heinikel. As ‘Rosy Rosy’ she provides the vocals on this track which appeared as one side of a single released in 1968.

Thanks to Hansi K Lauer at lyrics translate for transcribing the German lyrics.

KAMERA SONG

REFRAIN:
Komm näher
Komm ganz nah
Komm näher
Kamera
 
Mama! Ma-ma-ma!
 
Alles fließt in Zeit mir dahin
Nur ein Film von dir ist mir geblieben
Ich muss gehen, und fragen, wer ich bin?
Ohne Kamera und deine Liebe
 
REFRAIN
 
Komm!
Los!
Schieß!
Los komm!
Stop the war make peace
 
Und wie Hauch zerrinnt unsere Zeit
Deine Augen sehe ich nur durch Objektive
Deine Hände kann ich nicht mehr sehen
Du bist weit entfernt von meiner Liebe
 
REFRAIN
 
Komm!
Schieß!
Make peace
CAMERA SONG

CHORUS:
Come closer
Come really close
Come closer
Camera
 
Mama! Ma-ma-ma!
 
Everything flows away from me over time
Only a film of yours has stayed with me
I have to go, and ask, who am I?
Without camera or your love
 
CHORUS
 
Come!
Come on!
Shoot!
Just come!
Stop the war make peace
 
And our time disappears like a breath of air 
I can only see your eyes through lenses
I can’t see your hands anymore
You are far away from my love
 
CHORUS
 
Come!
Shoot!
Make peace

 

ZWEI GITARREN by ALEXANDRA

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1960s – Part 8

Not everyone was swinging in the sixties. Alexandra sang melancholy songs in her deep rich voice, many of which could have come from an earlier decade. In fact this track is based on “Golden Earrings”, the title song of a movie from 1947 starring Marlene Dietrich. The English original was recorded by artists including Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby and Alexandra herself. However I think this German version from 1967 with lyrics by Ernst Bader actually improves the song.

Alexandra’s life seems to have been as sad as her voice and she died in a car crash just two years later.

ZWEI GITARREN 

Zwei Gitarren
Erklingen übers Meer
Die Nacht ist voller Träume
Und mein Herz ist sehnsuchtsschwer
 
Zwei Gitarren
Erzählen mein Geschick
Die eine singt von Tränen
Und die andre singt von Glück

Du hast mir die Welt genommen
Und ich blieb allein
Du, wann wirst du wiederkommen?
Wann, wann wird das sein?
 
Zwei Gitarren
Erklingen sehnsuchtsschwer
Die Tränen werden bleiben
Aber du, du kommst nicht mehr
TWO GUITARS

Two guitars
Ring out across the sea
The night is full of dreams
And my heart is heavy with longing
 
Two guitars
Tell my destiny
One sings of tears
And the other sings of happiness

You took the world away from me
And I was left alone
You, when will you come back?
When, when will it be?
 
Two guitars
Sound heavy with longing
The tears will remain
But you, you won’t come anymore

MARMOR, STEIN UND EISEN BRICHT by DRAFI DEUTSCHER

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1960s – Part 7

Here is one of the biggest German hits of the sixties, a number one in 1965 sung by Drafi Deutscher. Still only 19 years old, Deutscher had become one of the biggest stars in Germany. However, in 1967 he drunkenly took a piss off a balcony, and sadly for him he was observed by a group of school children. The media outcry all but destroyed his career.

Deutscher also recorded a pretty good English version of this song entitled “Marble Breaks and Iron Bends” which reached #80 in the US charts.

MARMOR, STEIN UND EISEN BRICHT

Weine nicht, wenn der Regen fällt
(Dam dam, dam dam)
Es gibt einen, der zu dir hält
(Dam dam, dam dam)
 
REFRAIN:
Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht
Aber unsere Liebe nicht
Alles, alles geht vorbei
Doch wir sind uns treu
 
Kann ich einmal nicht bei dir sein
(Dam dam, dam dam)
Denk daran, du bist nicht allein
(Dam dam, dam dam)
 
REFRAIN x2

Nimm den goldenen Ring von mir
(Dam dam, dam dam)
Bist du traurig, dann sagt er dir
(Dam dam, dam dam)
 
REFRAIN x3
MARBLE, STONE AND IRON BREAK

Don't cry, when the rain falls 
(Dum dum, dum dum)
There's someone who will stand by you 
(Dum dum, dum dum)
 
CHORUS:
Marble, stone and iron break
But not our love
Everything, everything will pass
But we are faithful to each other
 
Sometime when I can't be with you
(Dum dum, dum dum)
Remember that you're not alone 
(Dum dum, dum dum)
 
CHORUS x2
 
Take the golden ring from me 
(Dum dum, dum dum)
When you're sad it will speak to you 
(Dum dum, dum dum)
 
CHORUS x3