Nena (band)

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This article is about the band. For the singer, whom the band was named after, see Nena. For other uses, see Nena (disambiguation).
Nena
Photo promoting the single "Leuchtturm" by Nena.jpg
Background information
Origin Germany
Genres Neue Deutsche Welle
Years active 1981 (1981)–1987 (1987)
Labels CBS / Epic
Website http://www.nena.de/

Nena was a German Neue Deutsche Welle band, best known for their 1983 hit single "99 Luftballons".

Personnel[edit]

Formation and rise[edit]

The band was formed in 1982 when vocalist Gabriele Kerner came to Berlin with drummer Rolf Brendel, her boyfriend at the time.[1] There they assembled the other members of the band, which took its name from their lead singer’s nickname (a corruption of the Spanish for “little girl”), which she had acquired as a toddler during a family holiday to Spain.[2]

The band wrote all of their songs themselves, typically working in pairs. They became overnight sensations in Germany when they performed their debut single “Nur geträumt” on German TV in August 1982, Nena herself wearing a distinctive short red skirt.[1] The single reached #2 in the German charts, a position it occupied for 6 weeks, and also climbed high in the Austrian, Belgian, Dutch and Swiss charts.[3][4][5][6] In early 1983 the follow-up single "99 Luftballons" spent a further 7 weeks at #2 before finally reaching the top slot, a position the debut album (Nena) matched.[7]

By the time the band released its 2nd album (? (Fragezeichen)) in Germany in January 1984, "99 Luftballons" was starting to climb the US charts, where it reached #2 and became one of the most successful non-English language tracks in US Billboard chart history. With the English version of the song ("99 Red Balloons") achieving the #1 position in the UK,[8] the band became internationally famous and in 1984 gave concerts and made TV appearances in Scandinavia, UK, Spain and France as well as a 7-date tour (on consecutive nights) of Japan.[9] [10] An international album (99 Luftballons) which comprised a combination of English versions of tracks from the first two German albums, performed respectably, reaching #31 in the UK charts in mid 1984.[8]

During 1984, Nena herself suddenly attracted publicity for not shaving her armpits. Bemused at the attention this generated, she shaved them immediately and has continued to do so ever since.[11]

Whilst enjoying international prominence on the back of "99 Luftballons", the band continued to enjoy domestic success in Germany with a string of hits in 1984 and the first half of 1985. The ? (Fragezeichen) album matched the band's debut album in making it to the top spot[7] and spawned two of the band's best known and most successful singles (the title track and "Rette mich"). They also had success with a couple of songs which would eventually be included on their third studio album, Feuer und Flamme, most notably "Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann".

Decline and discontinuation[edit]

The band was unable to follow up the international success of "99 Luftballons". An English version of "Nur geträumt" ("Just a dream") failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 and only reached #70 in the UK charts.[8] This minor chart appearance means that, according to the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, Nena is not, contrary to popular belief, one of the one-hit wonders in the UK, the definition being, "one number one hit and nothing else ever".[12] Nevertheless the decline in popularity continued when a second English album (It's All in the Game, an English version of Feuer und Flamme) failed to chart.

The band's fortunes in its homeland also began to turn in the second half of 1985, with disappointing attendance levels at their concerts[1] and their successful chart run ending when the last two singles from Feuer und Flamme failed to chart. Nena/Diskografie

The band's fourth and final studio album Eisbrecher ("Icebreaker"), apparently so named because it was intended to smash the mounting indifference the band was encountering, was released in late 1986.[13] Relative to its three predecessors it was a commercial failure as were the two last singles released from the album.[7] So, without ever formally announcing a split, the band discontinued in 1987. In the same year the marriage of Nena’s sister to the band’s bassist Jürgen Dehmel ended in divorce[14] and Nena’s 8-year relationship with the band’s drummer, Rolf Brendel, also ended.[15]

Epilogue[edit]

After a break from the music scene during which she starred in a film and had a baby boy who died at the age of 11 months, Nena launched her solo career in 1989 going on to enjoy considerable success in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, particularly since 2002. Since the birth of her fifth and final child in 1997, she has toured Germany more or less constantly, at least 50% of her concert setlists typically comprising tracks from the Nena band era.[16]

Throughout her solo career, Nena has continued to collaborate with former band members. Firstly, Nena's former boyfriend, Rolf Brendel, supported her as a drummer in the Bongo Girl tour in 1993.[17] Most enduring has been the link with the band's former keyboard player Jörn-Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen who appeared with her on stage during the 2005 tour promoting the triple-gold achieving Willst du mit mir gehn album which he had both produced and co-written tracks for[18] before going on to likewise for the 2009 album Made in Germany, which also achieved gold status.[19] The band's former guitarist, Carlo Karges also wrote tracks for some of Nena's solo albums in the 1990s. He died in 2002, just months before all the band's surviving members reunited on stage to perform a couple of songs during Nena's triumphant Frankfurt concert which coincided with the release of the triple-platinum Nena feat. Nena album which regalvanised her solo career.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
GER
[20]
AUT
[6]
NLD
[5]
NOR
[21]
SWE
[22]
CHE
[4]
UK
[23]
US
[24]
Nena 1 1 2
?
  • Released: January 27, 1984[27]
  • Label: CBS Schallplatten GmbH
  • Formats: CD, cassette, LP
1 1 2 17 11 1
  • BVMI: Platinum[26]
Feuer und Flamme
  • Released: June 24, 1985[28]
  • Label: CBS Schallplatten GmbH
  • Formats: CD, cassette, LP
2 16 19 5
Eisbrecher
  • Released: November 24, 1986[29]
  • Label: CBS Schallplatten GmbH
  • Formats: CD, LP
45
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

International albums[edit]

Following the international success of the single "99 Luftballons", the band released 99 Luftballons, a compilation of tracks from its first two albums, with five of the songs in new English-language versions. It's All in the Game is the English-language version of Feuer und Flamme, with lyrics by Canadian singer Lisa Dalbello.

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
GER
[30]
AUT
[6]
NLD
[5]
NOR
[21]
SWE
[22]
CHE
[4]
UK
[23]
US
[31]
99 Luftballons
  • Released: April 8, 1984[32]
  • Label: CBS Schallplatten GmbH, Epic Records
  • Formats: CD, cassette, LP
23 16 2 31 27
It's All in the Game
  • Released: November 10, 1985[34]
  • Label: CBS Schallplatten GmbH, Epic Records
  • Formats: CD, LP
168
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album B-side
GER
[35]
AUT
[6]
BEL
(FL)

[3]
CAN
[36]
NLD
[5]
NZL
[37]
SWE
[22]
CHE
[4]
UK
[23]
US
[38]
"Nur geträumt" 1982 2 9 11 7 5 Nena "Ganz oben"
"99 Luftballons" 1983 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 "Ich bleib' im Bett"
"Leuchtturm" 2 3 7 "Kino"
"? (Fragezeichen)" 3 4 19 12 1 ? "Ich lieb dich"
"99 Red Balloons" 1 1 99 Luftballons "Ich bleib im Bett"
"Rette mich" 1984 11 17 37 14 ? "Susi K."
"Lass mich dein Pirat sein" 53 45 "Keine Antwort"
"Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann" 3 7 29 13 2 Feuer und Flamme "Ganz Oben" (Live)
"Just a Dream" 70 102 99 Luftballons "Indianer"
"? (Question Mark)" "Ich lieb dich"
"Kino (At the Movies)" "Kino"
"Feuer und Flamme" 1985 8 18 45 14 Feuer und Flamme "Woman on Fire"
"Haus der drei Sonnen" 43 47 "Ein Brief"
"Jung wie du" "Das alte Lied"
"It's All in the Game" It's all in the Game "Let's Humanize"
"Du kennst die Liebe nicht" 1986 Feuer und Flamme "Du kennst die Liebe nicht" (Live)
"Mondsong" 37 70 Eisbrecher "Schön wär es doch"
"Engel der Nacht" 1987 "Zusammen"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Promotional singles[edit]

Title Year Album B-side
"Kino" 1983 Nena "Satellitenstadt"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Allmusic biography - Nena". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  2. ^ In the RTL documentary "100 prozent Nena", Nena explains the derivation of her nickname.
  3. ^ a b "Discografie Nena". ultratop.be (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Click on "Charts"→"Songs" for singles and "Alben" for albums:
  5. ^ a b c d "Nena discografie" (in Dutch). DutchCharts.nl, Hung Medien. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Nene discographie" (in German). AustrianCharts.at, Hung Medien. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Official German charts - Nena". charts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "UK charts - Nena". Official charts.com. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Nena tour dates 1984". Nena.de. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Nena Japan tour dates". Nena.de. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Hairy celebrities". livejournal.com. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  12. ^ The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (2nd ed.). Guinness Superlatives Limited. 1979. p. 313. ISBN 0 900424 99 0. 
  13. ^ "Allmusic "Eisbrecher" review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Nena then and now". lostidols.com. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "Wir stritten uns bis aufs Blut". Bunte.de. Bunte. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "Nena tours history and setlists". Nena.de. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  17. ^ See Neue Welle TV program "100 Grad" broadcast 30 March 1993
  18. ^ "Willst du mit mir gehn credits". Nena.de. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Made in Germany credits". Nena.de. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b "Chart history of Nena". NorwegianCharts.com, Hung Medien. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c "Chart history of Nena". SwedishCharts.com, Hung Medien. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c Select "Albums" or "Singles" tab:*"Nena – Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Nena" (in German). Nena.de. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c d e Press "Suchen":
  27. ^ "? (Fragezeichen)" (in German). Nena.de. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Feuer und Flamme". Nena.de. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Eisbrecher". Nena.de. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ "99 Luftballons". Nena.de. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b "Canadian certifications – Nena". Music Canada. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  34. ^ "It's All in the Game". Nena.de. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 39, No. 26". RPM. March 3, 1984. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  37. ^ ""99 Luftballons" by Nena". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ "American certifications – Nena". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Certified Awards Search" (To access, enter the search parameter "Nena" and select "Search by Keyword"). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 27, 2013.