99 Luftballons, Side by Side Comparison

I would like to thank Siobhán Silke, who did a quick translation of the German lyrics into English, and the various people who have sent in corrections. You can also view each of these columns seperately by following the link at the top of each. I thought a side by side comparision would be very interesting to see how the lyrics had to be changed to fit the meter of the song when it was translated into English from German. I'm not sure who wrote the original English lyrics, but they certainly did a good job at capturing the original spirit of the song. I think it's neat both versions work in Captin Kirk, even if they do come in different stanzas.

Verses 3 & 4 are sung in reverse order in the English version, but to better see the comparison in how the verses were translated, I've reversed them here.

German - Direct German Translation - English as Sung - Side by Side Comparision

German Direct German Translation English as Sung
Hast Du etwas Zeit fuer mich? Do you have some time for me You and I in a little toy shop
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich Then I'll sing a song for you buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
Von 99 Luftballons About 99 balloons Set them free at the break of dawn
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont On their way to the horizon 'Til one by one, they were gone
Denkst Du vielleicht grad' an mich? Are you perhaps thinking of me? Back at base, bugs in the software
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich Then I'll sing a song for you Flash the message, "Something's out there"
Von 99 Luftballons About 99 balloons Floating in the summer sky
Und dass sowas von sowas kommt And that something (like the war) comes from such a thing (the balloons) 99 red balloons go by.
99 Luftballons 99 balloons 99 red balloons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont On their way to the horizon floating in the summer sky
Hielt man fuer UFOs aus dem All They thought they were UFOs from space Panic bells, it's red alert
Darum schickte ein General So a general sent There's something here from somewhere red
'ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher A flying squad out there The war machine springs to life
Alarm zu geben, wenn's so waer To raise the alarm if it was true Opens up one eager eye
Dabei war'n da am Horizont Yet there on the horizon were Focusing it on the sky
Nur 99 Luftballons Only 99 balloons Where 99 red balloons go by.
99 Duesenflieger 99 jet planes 99 Knights of the air
Jeder war ein grosser Krieger Each one was a great warrior ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Hielten sich fuer Captain Kirk Thought that they were Captain Kirk Everyone's a Superhero
Es gab ein grosses Feuerwerk There were great fireworks Everyone's a Captain Kirk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft The neighbors didn't understand anything With orders to identify
Und fuehlten sich gleich angemacht And felt equally provoked To clarify and classify
Dabei schoss man am Horizont Yet there they shot on the horizon Scramble in the summer sky
Auf 99 Luftballons At 99 balloons As 99 red balloons go by.
99 Kriegsminister 99 war ministers 99 Decision Street
Streichholz und Benzinkanister Matches and petrol cans 99 ministers meet
Hielten sich fuer schlaue Leute Thought that they were clever people To worry, worry, super-scurry
Witterten schon fette Beute Already caught wind of great spoils [of war] Call the troops out in a hurry
Riefen: Krieg und wollten Macht Shouted: War, and wanted power This is what we've waited for
Mann, wer haette das gedacht Man, who would have thought This is it boys, this is war
Dass es einmal soweit kommt That one day it would come to this The president is on the line
Wegen 99 Luftballons Because of 99 balloons As 99 red balloons go by.
99 Jahre Krieg 99 years of war 99 dreams I have had
Liessen keinen Platz fuer Sieger Don't leave a place for victors In every one a red balloon
Kriegsminister gibt's nicht mehr There are no ministers of war any more It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
Und auch keine Duesenflieger And No jet planes either In this dust that was a city
Heute zieh ich meine Runden Today I'm doing my rounds If I could find a souvenier
Seh' die Welt in Truemmern liegen Seeing the world lying in ruins Just to prove the world was here...
Hab' 'nen Luftballon gefunden Found a balloon And here is a red balloon
Denk' an Dich und lass' ihn fliegen Think of you and let it fly I think of you and let it go.

Thanks to the people who sent in corrections.
Also check out the Nuclear War Songs Of The 80s page.