ICH HAB KEIN AUTO, ICH HAB KEIN RITTERGUT by AUSTIN EGEN

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1930s Part 6

Austin Egen was an Austrian singer and composer in the field of light music. He spent a large part of his youth in the USA, which presumably accounts for the strong jazz flavour in his work. Egen was particularly active as a recording artist in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and this charming little number dates from 1930.

ICH HAB KEIN AUTO, ICH HAB KEIN RITTERGUT

Ich hab kein Auto, ich hab kein Rittergut;
Das Einzige, was ich hab: ich hab dich lieb.
Ich bin kein Rothschild, bin nicht von blauem Blut;
Das Einzige, was ich bin: ich bin dir gut.

Ich kann nicht Englisch, auch Boxen kann ich nicht;
Das Einzige, was ich kann: ich kann nicht leben ohne dich.
Ich hab kein Auto, ich hab kein Rittergut;
Das Einzige, was ich hab: ich hab dich lieb.
I DON'T HAVE A CAR, I DON'T HAVE A MANOR

I don't have a car, I don't have a manor
The only thing that I have: I have love for you
I'm not a Rothschild, I don't have blue blood
The only thing that I am: I'm good for you

I can't speak English, I can't box either
The only thing that I can do: I can't live without you
I don't have a car, I don't have a manor
The only thing that I have: I have love for you
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HABEN SIE DEN NEUEN HUT VON FRÄULEIN MOLLY SCHON GESEHEN? by ROSITA SERRANO

SPANISH & GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1930s Part 5

This song is in Spanish, so why does it have a German title? The answer is that it appears in the German movie “Es leuchten die Sterne” (1938). Rosita Serrano was from Chile but she had her biggest success in Nazi Germany, singing in both Spanish and German. Like many performers connected to the Nazi regime she found it hard to pursue her career after the war.

In the film and on some recordings (but not in the clip above) there is a spoken German introduction which helps put the song into context. I have included part of this in the translation below (in italics).

Thanks to the folks at Lyrics Translate for transcribing the lyrics of this song. However, I am not sure they are 100% accurate.

HABEN SIE DEN NEUEN HUT 
VON FRÄULEIN MOLLY SCHON GESEHEN?

Haben sie den neuen Hut 
von Fräulein Molly schon gesehen? 
Ach, ist der chic. Ach, ist der schön. 
Aber das ist kein Hut, das ist ein Chapeau. 
Den gibt’s nur in Paris – und sonst nirgendwo.

Plata Molly
Vaya la rumba
Con un sombrero sí
 
Se lo compró ayer en Paris
Volvió la manía
Por tu manía ,tu manía,tu manía…
 
Plata Molly
No, no, no piensa más de amores
 
De su tierra esa goma
El cielo ví la flor
No, no, no, no piensa l'amor
No piensa en amor
HAVE YOU SEEN MISS MOLLY'S 
NEW HAT YET?

Have you seen Miss Molly's 
new hat yet?
Oh, it's so chic. Oh, it's so beautiful.
But it's not a hat, it's a chapeau.
It's only available in Paris - and nowhere else.

Silver Molly
Wow, the rumba
With a hat, yes
 
She bought it yesterday in Paris
The mania returned
Because of your mania, your mania, your mania...
 
Silver Molly
No, no, don’t think about love anymore
 
From her land that rubber
Heaven saw the flower
No, no, no, don’t think about l'amor
Don’t think about love

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.

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

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.

LAUBFROSCH BLUES by BAUER, GARN & DYKE

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 13
Germans sing the blues

The British drummer Roy Dyke was a member of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, who had a hit with “The Resurrection Shuffle” in 1971. Later he moved to Germany, becoming a member of this similarly named trio, and they released this single in 1979. Their guitarist Hannes Bauer later joined Udo Lindenberg’s Panik Orchester. Despite his impressive use of the mike stand in this clip the audience seem to be catatonically bored. Are they waiting for the 1980s?

LAUBFROSCH BLUES

Baby, hätt’st du gern einen Laubfrosch in dein’m Bett?
es liegt schon einer drin und der ist dick und fett

Baby, hätt’st du gern einen Laubfrosch in dein’m Bett?
vielleicht ist er ein Prinz, bist du zu ihm ein bisschen nett?

Baby, so ein Prinz ist meistens höllisch heiß
auch wenn er dämlich aussieht, ist doch völlig gleich
Baby küss ihn schnell, 
sonst haut er wieder ab in 'n Teich
 
Küss den Laubfrosch…
Baby küss ihn gleich 
sonst haut er wieder ab in 'n Teich

Stell die mal vor, Baby, du, nie mehr arbeiten, 
immer auf'm goldenen Thron sitzen. 
Wie im Märchen vor fünfhundert Jahren. 
Dann muß der Prinz wohl auch schon so an die 
500 Jahre alt sein, was.
Bisschen tatterig und so, 
ich mein' wenn das was für dich ist, verstehst du?

Baby, hätt’st du gern einen Laubfrosch in dein’m Bett?
nimm doch lieber mich, ich bin doch auch ganz nett.

Ich bin kein Laubfrosch…
ich bin nicht ganz so kalt und auch noch nicht so alt.

Ich bin kein Laubfrosch Baby
TREEFROG BLUES

Baby, would you like a tree frog in your bed?
One’s lying in it already and he’s big and fat
	
Baby, would you like a tree frog in your bed?
Maybe he’s a prince, are you a little bit nice to him?

Baby such a prince is usually hot as hell
Even if he looks ugly it doesn’t matter at all
Baby kiss him quick 
or else he’ll run off back to the pond

Kiss the tree frog…
Baby kiss him straight away 
or else he’ll run off back to the pond

Just imagine baby, never working anymore
Always sitting on the golden throne
Like in the fairy tales from five hundred years ago
Then the prince must be about 
500 years old, or what
A little bit senile and so on, 
I mean, if that's for you, do you understand?

Baby, would you like a tree frog in your bed?
Why don’t you take me, I'm also really nice

I'm not a tree frog…
I'm not that cold and also not that old

I’m not a tree frog baby

IM WAGEN VOR MIR by HENRY VALENTINO & USCHI

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 12
The Hummable Evil of Schlager

The acts featured so far in this series weren’t exactly the biggest sellers of the Seventies. The charts were still dominated by Schlager, and hipper songs would have to wait until the early Eighties to invade the charts, when the German New Wave scene crossed over.

Schlager can be pretty terrible – just imagine a particularly bad edition of the Eurovision Song Contest where everyone is singing in German. Sometimes you might even detect a slightly sinister undercurrent to the jollity. This song, for instance, features a young woman who is worried that the driver behind her might be a stalker. I can’t quite decide whether it is brilliant or evil, but it’s certainly as hummable as hell.

Hans Blum (Henry Valentino’s real name) had a long and successful career as a Schlager writer before finding success as a performer in the Seventies. This single made the German top ten in 1977, and it has gone on to inspire many covers and parodies. The punk band Die Toten Hosen recorded a faithful cover with identical lyrics in 1987.

IM WAGEN VOR MIR

Im Wagen vor mir fährt ein junges Mädchen
Sie fährt allein und sie scheint hübsch zu sein
Ich weiß nicht ihren Namen 
und ich kenne nicht ihr Ziel
Ich merke nur, sie fährt mit viel Gefühl
 
Im Wagen vor mir fährt ein junges Mädchen
Ich möcht' gern wissen, was sie gerade denkt
Hört sie denselben Sender 
oder ist ihr Radio aus?
Fährt sie zum Rendezvous oder nach Haus?
 
Was will der blöde Kerl da hinter mir nur?
(Ist sie nicht süß)
Ich frag' mich, warum überholt der nicht?
(So weiches Haar)
Der hängt nun schon 'ne halbe Stunde 
ständig hinter mir
Nun dämmert's schon und der fährt ohne Licht
(So schön mit neunzig)
 
Der könnt' schon hundert Kilometer weg sein
(Was bin ich froh)
Mensch, fahr' an meiner Ente doch vorbei!
(Ich fühl' mich richtig wohl)
Will der mich kontrollieren 
oder will er mich entführen?
Oder ist das in Zivil die Polizei?
 
Wie schön, dass ich heut' endlich einmal Zeit hab'
Ich muss nicht rasen wie ein wilder Stier
Ich träum' so in Gedanken, 
ganz allein und ohne Schranken
Und wünsch', das schöne Mädchen wär' bei mir
 
Nun wird mir diese Sache langsam mulmig
(Die Musik ist gut)
Ich fahr' die allernächste Abfahrt raus
(Heut' ist ein schöner Tag)
Dort werd' ich mich verstecken 
hinter irgendwelchen Hecken
Verdammt - dadurch komm ich zu spät nach Haus!
 
Bye-bye, mein schönes Mädchen, gute Reise
Sie hat den Blinker an, hier fährt sie ab
Für mich wird in zwei Stunden 
auch die Fahrt zu Ende geh'n
Doch dich, mein Mädchen, werd' ich nie mehr seh'n
IN THE CAR IN FRONT OF ME

In the car in front of me a young girl is driving
She's driving alone and she looks really cute
I don't know her name 
and I don't know her destination
I only know she's driving with lots of feeling
 
In the car in front of me a young girl is driving
I'd really like to know what she’s thinking
Is she listening to the same station
or is her radio off?
Is she going on a date or going home?
 
What does the stupid guy behind me want? 
(Isn't she sweet)
I ask myself, why doesn't he overtake? 
(Such soft hair)
He's been on my tail for at least half an hour,
constantly behind me
Now it’s nearly dark and he’s driving without lights 
(She’s going ninety)
 
He could be a hundred kilometres away by now 
(Oh I'm happy)
Man - overtake me already! 
(I feel really happy)
Does he want to observe me
or does he want to kidnap me?
Or is he a plain clothes policeman?
 
How lovely that today I've finally got time
I don't have to race like a wild bull
I'm day dreaming 
all alone and without limits
I wish the lovely girl was by my side
 
This thing is gradually making me uncomfortable 
(The music is good)
I'm going to take the next exit 
(Today is a beautiful day)
So I can hide myself 
behind some hedges
Dammit - this is going to make me be late home!
 
Bye-bye my lovely girl, have a good trip
She has her indicator on, she's turning off
For me, in two hours
my journey will also end
But you, my lovely girl, I'll never see again