99 Red Balloons Lyrics German Goldfinger

7 min read Jun 10, 2024
99 Red Balloons Lyrics German Goldfinger

99 Red Balloons: A German Hit that Became a Global Phenomenon

"99 Red Balloons" is a song by the German synth-pop band Nena, released in 1983. It became a global sensation, reaching the top 10 in charts worldwide, and is considered one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s. The song's popularity stems not only from its catchy melody and upbeat tempo, but also from its powerful and thought-provoking lyrics.

The song tells a story about a world gone mad, where an innocent act of releasing 99 red balloons leads to a nuclear war. The lyrics explore themes of war, fear, and the futility of violence.

Here's a breakdown of the lyrics and their meaning:

The German Lyrics and their Meaning:

The song's original lyrics are in German, and they offer a unique perspective on the themes of war and fear. Here's a translation of the key lines:

Verse 1:

  • "99 Luftballons auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont" (99 balloons on their way to the horizon) - This line sets the scene and introduces the innocent act that will set off a chain of events.
  • "99 Luftballons, niemals wieder runterkommen" (99 balloons, never coming down again) - This line hints at the futility of the situation, as the balloons are a symbol of the escalating conflict.


  • "Sie fragten sich, wer die Luftballons schickte, wer sie fliegen ließ" (They wondered who sent the balloons, who let them fly) - This line shows the confusion and fear that spreads as people try to understand the mysterious event.
  • "Sie sagten, 'Es ist Krieg', aber keiner wusste warum" (They said, 'It's war,' but no one knew why) - This line highlights the absurdity of the situation, as war breaks out without a clear reason.

Verse 2:

  • "Sie wollten die Luftballons abschießen, weil sie glaubten, es seien Raketen" (They wanted to shoot down the balloons, because they thought they were rockets) - This line demonstrates the paranoia and fear that grip the world.
  • "99 Luftballons, die ganze Welt im Feuer" (99 balloons, the whole world on fire) - This line shows the devastating consequences of the conflict, with the balloons symbolizing the destructive power of war.


  • "99 Luftballons, das ist ein trauriger Tag" (99 balloons, this is a sad day) - This line expresses the sadness and regret over the situation.
  • "Sie haben nicht bemerkt, dass es keine Raketen sind, sondern nur Luftballons" (They didn't realize that they weren't rockets, but just balloons) - This line highlights the tragic misunderstanding that leads to the conflict.


  • "Sie fragten sich, wer die Luftballons schickte, wer sie fliegen ließ" (They wondered who sent the balloons, who let them fly) - The repetition of this line emphasizes the futility of the situation and the lack of understanding.


  • "99 Luftballons, 99 Luftballons" (99 balloons, 99 balloons) - The repetition of the number 99 serves as a reminder of the innocent act that triggered the war and the tragic consequences that followed.

The English Translation:

The English lyrics of "99 Red Balloons" retain the core message of the German version, but they also add some nuances and interpretations. Here's a brief look at the key lines:

  • "99 red balloons, floating in the summer sky" - The original German lyrics mention the balloons floating to the horizon, but the English version uses the imagery of summer sky, adding a sense of innocence and lightheartedness.
  • "They were red and yellow, red and yellow, red and yellow, red and yellow" - The English version adds a repetitive line about the balloons' colors, further emphasizing their innocent nature.
  • "They said, 'It's war!' No one knew why" - This line emphasizes the senseless nature of the conflict, with the lack of a clear reason for war being a central theme.

The Legacy of "99 Red Balloons"

"99 Red Balloons" continues to resonate with listeners today, serving as a powerful reminder of the dangers of war and the importance of understanding and communication. The song's simple but profound lyrics have made it a timeless anthem for peace and against senseless conflict.

The song's popularity has transcended language barriers, reaching a global audience and becoming a symbol of the anti-war movement. Its enduring message of peace and understanding continues to inspire listeners around the world.

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