My kids asked me to crank up the satelleite radio in the car last week when the K-pop song “Gangnam Style” by Korean rapper Psy came on. My kids love the song that over 900 million people have viewed on YouTube and it got me thinking about a couple of things. First off, what is “Oppa Gagnam Style” and secondly, what other songs made it huge internationally which were not in English.
So I thought this week’s Thursday Thirteen should focus on the thirteen non-English songs that have “made it” over here in Canada in the past 50-60 years. Surprisingly, there are not that many, Gangnam Style aside… You should, however, recognize each song on this list and if you’re not sure about the song, head over to You Tube, watch the video, and you’ll be sure to recognize it.
Before we get to the list, however, for those of you who may not know, “Oppa Gangnam Style” is funny because it makes fun of the gangnam district – a very wealthy district in Seoul, South Korea – and how people who frequent that district are known for their frivolous spending of their money and that they order people around. These people really abuse their wealth and allow their children to go out partying, creating chaos wherever they go because they know their parents money is going to get them out of trouble. It’s about the uber-privilidged and their bratty children.
On to the Thursday Thirteen… Please sit back, take out the bell-bottomed jeans, hide away the 8-track, and check your armpits for hair and let’s go!
13. Trio’s ‘Da Da Da’ (from the VW commercial)
12. Austrian Rock group Falco who had hits in Austrian with Der Komissar, and Rock Me
11. Los Lobos with the huge hit “La Bamba”
10. “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” (German for “I am a foreigner”, by Pop Will Eat Itself, from 1994.
9. “Numa Numa” by O-Zone
8. “Bailamos” byEnrique Iglesias
7. French-Canadian hottie, Mitsou, and one of her hits, “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy”
6. ”Oye Como Va” by the legend Carlos Santana
5. For the hard rock / heavy metal lovers, there is “Du hast” by Rammstein.
4. The ’90s music scene saw the pop success of the Chanting Monks, who chanted in Latin
3. Enigma’s “Sadeness (Part 1)”. You know this song for sure…
2. “Bamboleo” by The Gypsy Kings
1. ”99 Luftballoons” by Nena. Did you know that Nena was not the name of the woman who sang the song, but the name of the band? And how many of you remember the German version video, where ts wearing either black or red leather pants, and a black tank top, and she danced with her arms over her head and for us prudish North Americans, all the talk was about her very natural hairy armpits.
Honourable mention to:
“Macarena” by Los Del Rio, which is sung partly in English.
The Ole Ole Ole song they sing at soccer games.
- Here’s The English Translation Of ‘Gangnam Style’ (businessinsider.com)