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Stars Sing German

I have previously posted some German versions of English-language hits sung by the stars of these songs themselves. Here’s a mix of 29 such songs, spanning just over a decade, from 1961-72.

The fashion of Anglophone artists to record in various European languages hit overdrive in the mid-’60s. As mainland Europe’s biggest record market, Germany benefited (or not) from that fashion in particular. Some artists just recorded a few songs, often used as b-sides (for example, The Supremes’ German version of Where Did Our Love Go was the flip side of the English-language Moonlight And Kisses). Others recorded more regularly. British singers such as Petula Clark, Sandie Shaw and Peter & Gordon, as well as Connie Francis recorded several original German songs.

Some singers clearly could not speak German and sang their lyrics phonetically, often poorly, such as Millie, The Searchers, The Temptations and Dionne Warwick. Others made at the very least an effort, such as The Supremes, Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, Connie Francis, Brian Hyland, The Honeycombs or Manfred Mann

And some either spoke German or made a great effort to learn the proper pronunciation of words. Top of the class would be The New Christy Minstrels, Peter Paul & Mary, Olivia Newton-John (her mother was German, the daughter of physics Nobel laureate Max Born) and ABBA (whose Agnetha once tried to make it as a Schlager singer, as we saw in Curious Germany Vol 2).

Johnny Cash, who as a GI was stationed in Bavaria, does a good job on In Virginia (which features here), but did some violence to German on his version of I Walk The Line (featured on Curious Germany Vol. 3)

Most of the translations more or less reflect the original; but a few take a whole new theme. Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String becomes Wiedehopf im Mai, for example.  A Wiedehopf is a bird (picture here). Of course, she also recorded the Eurovision Song Contest-winning song in French, Spanish and Italian, possibly without reference to tongue-twisting feathered friends. And then there is Donny Osmond, whose Go Away, Little Girl becomes the opposite: Bleib’ bei mir (Stay with me).

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-baked covers (as well as a larger version of the above collage of single covers).

TRACKLISTING
1. Gene Pitney – Bleibe bei mir (Town Without Pity) (1961)
2. Connie Francis – Schöner fremder Mann (Someone Else’s Boy) (1961)
3. Brian Hyland – Schön war die Zeit (Sealed With A Kiss) (1962)
4. Leroy Van Dyke – Geh nicht vorbei (Walk On By) (1962)
5. Peter, Paul & Mary – Die Antwort weiß ganz allein der Wind (Blowin’ In The Wind) (1962)
6. The New Christy Minstrels – Grün, grün ist Tennessee (Geen Green) (1963)
7. Roy Orbison – Mama (Mama) (1963)
8. Willie Nelson – Little Darling (Pretty Paper) (1964)
9. Millie – My Boy Lollipop (My Boy Lollipop) (1964)
10. The Beatles – Komm, gib mir deine Hand (I Want To Hold Your Hand) (1964)
11. The Honeycombs – Hab’ ich das Recht (Have I The Right) (1964)
12. The Searchers – Süss ist sie (Sugar And Spice) (1964)
13. Marvin Gaye – Wie schön das ist (How Sweet It Is) (1964)
14. The Temptations – Mein Girl (My Girl) (1964)
15. Dionne Warwick – Geh Vorbei (Walk On By) (1964)
16. Dusty Springfield – Warten und hoffen (Wishin’ And Hopin’) (1965)
17. The Supremes – Baby, Baby, wo ist unsere Liebe (Where Did Our Love Go) (1965)
18. Georgie Fame – Yeah, Yeh, Yeh (Yeh Yeh) (1965)
19. Manfred Mann – Sie (She) (1965)
20. The Beach Boys – Ganz allein (In My Room) (1965)
21. Johnny Cash – In Virginia (In Virginia) (1966)
22. Petula Clark – Downtown (Downtown) (1966)
23. Sandie Shaw – Wiedehopf im Mai (Puppet On A String) (1967)
24. Donny Osmond – Bleib bei mir, little Girl (Go Away Little Girl) (1971)
25. Olivia Newton-John – Unten am Fluß, der Ohio heißt (On The Banks Of The Ohio) (1972)
26. The New Seekers – Oh, ich will betteln, ich will stehlen (Beg Steal Or Borrow) (1972)
27. Daniel Boone – Beautiful Sunday (Beautiful Sunday) (1972)
28. Abba – Ring Ring (Ring Ring) (1973)
29. Abba – Waterloo (Waterloo) (1974)

GET IT or  HERE
(PW in comments)

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  1. Birgit
    May 24th, 2012 at 13:46 | #1

    Great fun! Thanks.

  2. May 24th, 2012 at 15:54 | #2

    This is marvelous and weird, in a good way. Thanks for putting it together.

  3. Ace K
    May 24th, 2012 at 21:22 | #3

    I am so glad I found this site. Dozens of compilations that I thought of doing but (i) never assembled all the recordings, and (ii) even if I did/had, would never have the dedication to put them together.

    Great!

    Ace K.

  4. May 25th, 2012 at 11:34 | #4

    How do you think Petula Clark did? As far as I know, she recorded over 30 songs in German, and had a German language coach, and although she must have had a bit f an accent, her desire for quality over commercial success would have driven her to make a good showing.

    She had a few No 1s too… Monsuier, Downtown and Love– Love – So Heißt Mein Song, so the German public must have liked them well enough.

  5. sw2boro
    May 25th, 2012 at 19:31 | #5

    Dude, you have made my weekend!

  6. halfhearteddude
    May 25th, 2012 at 21:21 | #6

    Tris, Petula’s diction is very clear; she has a fairly heavy accent, and occasionally struggles with whether to elongate vowels, but she places the right accent on the words that she is singing. She knows what she’s doing.

  7. Rick
    May 28th, 2012 at 21:43 | #7

    Thanks for this one, even a few here i havent heard before, diction can get a bit off the other way round too like Nena’s english version of 99 Luftballoons, she missed just a bit on a few words but the result is kind of sexy, Cheers

  8. ms. xtro
    June 8th, 2012 at 14:49 | #8

    i had no idea some/most of these acts had ever recorded in german! thanks for another fun, imaginative mix!

  9. JohannaLapp
    November 22nd, 2012 at 14:27 | #9

    The MediaFire link is dead dead dead. Any hopes of a re-up?

  10. halfhearteddude
    November 22nd, 2012 at 20:03 | #10

    The new links are up.

  11. Richard
    December 5th, 2012 at 11:22 | #11

    hi dude
    the links to your Stars Sing German mix are in fact those to the Any Major Week mix
    please repair – the german stuff looks extremely promising
    thank you very much for your great site

    Richard

  12. halfhearteddude
    December 5th, 2012 at 22:12 | #12

    Fixed.

    PW = amdwhah

  13. John Maher
    January 7th, 2013 at 13:28 | #13

    Any chance of a text transcription of any of these tracks?

    I am trying to track down text transcription of the German recordings of some of the sixties Motown classics (Mein Girl, etc), if anyone can help.

  14. JohnnyDiego
    January 24th, 2013 at 13:08 | #14

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of Peter Gabriel. OK, maybe I have heard a song or two that I like but I can’t think of one right now nor are any on my iPod (which at this moment contains 7592 songs.)
    But I do remember riding in my car in the late 80s or early 90s listening to a college radio station and they played “Shock The Monkey” by Mr. Gabriel in German.
    I am a firm believer that there are only two languages that lend themselves perfectly to RocknRoll – English and German. (One may have an argument for Mexican-Spanish.) So “Shock the Monkey” in German blew me away. But, as far as I can remember, that was the only time I have ever heard that song.
    I’ve done abbreviated searches on Google and such without luck. Can you help me locate a German version of Peter Gabriel doing “Shock the Monkey?”
    Thanks.

  15. halfhearteddude
    May 14th, 2013 at 22:52 | #15

    Probably too late for you to see this, Johnny Diego, but here’s the German of “Shock The Monkey”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8-T_Yv7BvM

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