Chart Peak: 1 (3 weeks)
Flipping over the record, and Side 2's chart-topping single is right at the top. And a global success too, although of in some places it was the original German-language recording of '99 Luftballons' that was the hit, and that's the version I later downloaded.
However, it's the English version that we heard at the time and that's the one featured here. The English lyric isn't a full line-by-line translation and the tone is slightly different, but the storyline of accidental total annihilation is still there. Whilst I don't think those of us who were children in the 1980s were raised into the same level of fear about such things as the generation before us, but the Cold War always seemed to be somewhere in the air out there... not that I'm sure I actually realised that was what the song was about at the time. Hearing it now, the reference points seem to date the song as much as the keyboard sound, but I'm better able to appreciate the satirical element and actually, I think it's aged oddly well.
Available on:99 Luftballons
Charting 1997: 27th December
5 years ago