99 Red balloons

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This was one of the songs in the ’80s to make a point about the brinkmanship and paranoia/hysteria surrounding the issue of war. The song talks about Nena and the listener buying 99 Balloons in a shop and letting them go, for fun. These balloons show up on the radar as unidentified objects and both sides scramble planes and go to full alert to counteract a perceived nuclear attack, when in fact it is the most childlike of things, a bunch of balloons.The song, though difficult to understand, is about the dreams of the German people that were lost after World War II. The 99 balloons represent the many dreams that each person had. At the end of the song, she just wants to prove that the German people did have dreams by finding one balloon – she finds one balloon, a dream, and lets it go.Nena’s guitarist, Carlo Karges, got the idea for the song after watching balloons being released at a Rolling Stones concert in West Berlin. He wrote the lyrics and Nena’s keyboard player Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen wrote the music.
Nena’s real name is Gabriela Kerner. She was is a band called The Stripes before forming her own group. Read more...