Hey hey atashi ni wa wakatteru
February 15, 2008 6:57 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to find some examples of bands rerecording their own songs with foreign language versions of the lyrics, please.

I was pottering about online and managed to find an mp3 of Bloc Party doing a version of their recent single Flux in German, which I thought was great. (Apparently they recorded it in French too but I can't get hold of it.) Which got me thinking: are there any other examples of artists/bands who have rerecorded their songs in another language? I can think of a couple of other examples of what I'm looking for:

- Blur did a version of Til The End in French
- Avril Lavigne recorded Girlfriend in multiple languages for its worldwide single release (although only the chorus is in another language, which was a bit disappointing)

I'm mostly looking at pop, indie-rock or rock songs originally recorded in English, but songs originally recorded in another language and redone into English might be interesting too (e.g. Tatu originally released everything in Russian before rerecording in English).

I'm sure I've heard of other bands rerecording their songs in French in order to comply with the law there that a proportion of songs on French radio must be in the language, but nothing springs to mind and my Google-fu has escaped me. Hopefully this hasn't been asked before... I found this question, which is sort of relevant, but not really as I'm looking for bands rerecording their own songs. I'm not looking for translated songs rerecorded by a different band or substantially different reworkings - I'm looking for the same band, doing the same song, just with the lyrics translated into another language. (Or maybe not directly translated - just the same music but with different lyrics in another language.) Bonus points if you can give me a link on iTunes or another download service, or tell me where I can obtain these songs. (I'm in the UK, if it matters.)
posted by terrynutkins to Media & Arts (70 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Christina Aguleria released a Spanish CD with music from her first (and second?) album.
posted by chunking express at 6:59 AM on February 15, 2008

"99 Luftballoons" was recorded originally in German by Nena, but rerecorded in English as "99 Red Balloons". That's the most obvious one to come to mind. I'll try to think of more.
posted by ErWenn at 7:00 AM on February 15, 2008

The Beatles did German versions of a few of their early songs

For example 'Komm gib me deine hand' (sp?)
posted by TheOtherGuy at 7:02 AM on February 15, 2008

They Might Be Giants rerecorded "Number Three" in Greek called "Greek #3". It's hilarious.
posted by yeti at 7:05 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just thought of another! Jonathan Coulton rerecorded "Re: Your Brains" (a fantastic song, go listen if you haven't) in French.
posted by ErWenn at 7:05 AM on February 15, 2008

Abba did many English language versions of their songs.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:07 AM on February 15, 2008

Kate Bush did "The Infant Kiss" as "Un Baiser d'enfant".
posted by Coatlicue at 7:13 AM on February 15, 2008

Blondie did versions of Denis, Sunday Girl and Call Me with French lyrics.
posted by misteraitch at 7:13 AM on February 15, 2008

Jonathan Richman recorded some of his songs in Spanish. Nada Surf recorded some of their's in French.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:17 AM on February 15, 2008

April March recorded "Chick Habit" in English and French.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:24 AM on February 15, 2008

From the '90s, the wonderful Linoleum and a French language version of "On a Tuesday".
posted by patricio at 7:25 AM on February 15, 2008

A few years ago I heard KNRK in Portland play a German version of a Franz Ferdinand song. Name of the song escapes me.
posted by Tacodog at 7:26 AM on February 15, 2008

I have no idea where I found it back in the day, but Bad Religion did record "Punk Rock Song" in German at one point.
posted by General Malaise at 7:28 AM on February 15, 2008

pollomacho - here's more foreign language ABBA
posted by patricio at 7:29 AM on February 15, 2008

The Teardrop Explodes recorded "Treason" in French as "Traison." It's pretty silly.
posted by seldomfun at 7:31 AM on February 15, 2008

I'll stop soon, promise. How about this: all of Cliff Richard's foreign language hits...
posted by patricio at 7:32 AM on February 15, 2008

Rammstein did "Du Hast" in English.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:32 AM on February 15, 2008

Bowie did "Heroes" in German, "Helden" - rather apropos at the time, before the Berlin Wall came down, etc. YouTubery.
posted by GuyZero at 7:33 AM on February 15, 2008

Peter Gabriel has two albums with German versions.
David Bowie - "Helden" (German "Heroes")

Kraftwerk - "Das Model" and "The Model"
Os Mutantes - Technicolor has English versions of earlier songs in Portuguese. (There should be a word for a youtube link where all you want is the audio.)
posted by hydrophonic at 7:34 AM on February 15, 2008

A lot of artists move from Italian to Spanish: Nek, Eros Ramazzotti and Laura Pausini to name but three current and popular examples. I guess the languages are so similar and the Spanish-speaking market so much larger that it makes sense for a moderately successful Italian artist to rerecord in Spanish.
posted by benzo8 at 7:34 AM on February 15, 2008

Rammstein did "Du Hast" in English.

I love Rammstein because many of their songs are in Grade 3 german which I can actually understand!

Ein! Heir komst die sonne.
Zwei! Heir komst die sonne.

or however you spell it. It's a regular berlitz lesson.
posted by GuyZero at 7:35 AM on February 15, 2008

Nena actually did English versions of their several of their songs, not just 99 Luftballoons. For more classic hits of the 80s! action, check out the Spanish version of Toni Basil's "Mickey".
posted by fidelity at 7:40 AM on February 15, 2008

Robbie Williams did a version of Supreme in French. (A friend told me that, honest!)

There was a BBC radio documentary a few weeks ago about British 60s pop groups translating their songs into European languags (including the Beetles and the Rolling Stones). But I can't find on their web page. It was probably Radio 4, but might have been the World Service
posted by Helga-woo at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2008

I'll admit this: I owned the cassette single of Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy," which included a Spanish version on the B-side. Soy tan sexy que mi amor, tan sexy que mi amor, va a abandonarme.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2008

Sixpence None the Richer did a japanese version of "Kiss Me." It's so very random.
posted by somanyamys at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2008

Robyn Hitchcock redid Alright, Yeah in Swedish for no readily explainable reason.
posted by scruss at 7:45 AM on February 15, 2008

The Italian band Lunapop released three versions of their single '50 Special'; here's the videos in English, Spanish, and Italian.
posted by hydatius at 7:46 AM on February 15, 2008

Ben Folds Five had some recordings of live performances in Japan, and they did "Song for the Dumped" entirely in Japanese.
posted by slyboots421 at 7:46 AM on February 15, 2008

Just yesterday I heard an English version of Stereo Total's originally-french "L'amour á 3" - it was ear-poison.
posted by soma lkzx at 7:49 AM on February 15, 2008

Ben Folds Five had some recordings of live performances in Japan, and they did "Song for the Dumped" entirely in Japanese.

here we go!
posted by soma lkzx at 7:55 AM on February 15, 2008

Ohhh spellings... languages, Beatles (in my defence about that one, I'm multitasking and writing up a kid's wildlife project at the moment).
posted by Helga-woo at 7:57 AM on February 15, 2008

"Superman" by Cinerama (English/Spanish) and a song in French too I'm pretty sure.
posted by ArcAm at 7:58 AM on February 15, 2008

Blind Guardian recorded their song Harvest of Sorrow in English, Spanish (two different versions), Italian, and French.
posted by kidbritish at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2008

There's an album called Nero Italiano with Motown artists performing their songs in Italian.
posted by bink at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2008

ABBA in Spanish
Chris Cornell did a French version of "Can't Change Me"
posted by hydrophonic at 8:11 AM on February 15, 2008

It may not be a real language per se... but when EA released "Sims 2" several artists recorded versions of their songs in 'simish' (the fictional babble of the characters in the game). Examples include the String Cheese Incident and Lily Allen.
posted by PlannerCarl at 8:25 AM on February 15, 2008

Madness did a version of "One Step Beyond" in Italian, available on their compilation The Business. I believe it's called Un paso avanti.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:32 AM on February 15, 2008

Concrete Blonde did "Mexican Moon" (the song) as "Baja la Luna Mexicana". Didn't really work out too well, I think.
posted by dilettante at 8:33 AM on February 15, 2008

I know Sting has done at least a couple of Spanish versions of his songs, one of which is on this CD which also includes

1. Todo Lo Que Hago, Lo Hago Por Ti - Bryan Adams
2. Cama de Rosas - Bon Jovi
3. Viento de Cambio - Scorpions
4. Senza Una Donna - Zucchero
5. Fragilidad - Sting
6. No Dejemos Que Muera el Amor (Water Runs Dry) - Boyz II Men
7. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da - The Police
8. Noches de Seda - The Moody Blues
9. Oye Como Va - Santana
10. Sukiyaki - 4 PM "For Positive Music"
11. Let's Get Serious - Jermaine Jackson
12. Vuelve a Mi - Janet Jackson
13. Luka - Suzanne Vega
posted by jerryg99 at 8:34 AM on February 15, 2008

Blonde Redhead Melodie Citronique has a couple songs from their album Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons recorded w/alternate, I think one French and one Italian
posted by citron at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2008

At least two Canadian bands that I know of have released versions of albums in both English and French. Big Sugar released Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready and Brothers and Sisters, Êtes-Vous Ready? simultaneously in 2001. Immaculate Machine followed Ones and Zeros with an EP containing translations of six songs, Les Uns Main Pas Les Autres. (They also translated one of their songs into Mandarin in response to a radio personality who teased them about the French translations.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:47 AM on February 15, 2008

Celtic punk band Flogging Molly recorded their song "Sentimental Johnny" as "Juan El Sentimental."

The Beatles in German is definitely worth a listen.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:51 AM on February 15, 2008

Manowar has a version of Heart of Steel in german (Hertz Aus Stahl, I believe).
posted by Ikazuchi at 8:55 AM on February 15, 2008

Danish band Mew did a Japanese language version of their song "White Lips Kissed". It's called "Shiroi Kuchibiruno Izanai" and you can find it on the album "And the Glass Handed Kites" or listen to it streamed here.
posted by sveskemus at 8:59 AM on February 15, 2008

Peter Gabriel released his third and fourth albums in German versions. III (Melt) became "ein deutsches album" and IV (Security) became "deutsches album".
posted by mkb at 9:09 AM on February 15, 2008

Dammit, I missed the previous entry on Peter Gabriel.

Kraftwerk released Tour de France in numerous language versions: French, German, and English. Computerworld was also released in two languages.
posted by mkb at 9:09 AM on February 15, 2008

Can't believe I'm the first to post the Wedding Present:
"Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?" / "Pourquoi Es-Tu Devenue Si Raisonnable?"
posted by Eater at 9:33 AM on February 15, 2008

German pop band Tokio Hotel released an English album one or two years ago with a mix of different songs from their first two German albums sung with English lyrics. Obligatory Wiki.
posted by Phire at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2008

Back in 1964, Petula Clark released Downtown in 4 different (English, French, German, Italian) languages. I've heard the French version and its really quite lovely.
posted by Chrischris at 9:49 AM on February 15, 2008

Well the Friendly Indians, who do the theme song for the show Psych, did a Spanish version for one episode.
posted by radioamy at 9:54 AM on February 15, 2008

The Captain and Tenille recorded a Spanish version of "Love Will Keep Us Together" called "Por Amor Viviremos."
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2008

Nat King Cole released versions of "Autumn Leaves" in both French and Japanese. He also released "L-O-V-E" in French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese. I'm sure there are multiple versions of "Unforgettable" in these languages, too, though I've yet to find them.

He was way ahead of his time.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:31 AM on February 15, 2008

belle and sebastian, i'm a cuckoo has a japanese version
the flaming lips also recorded a track from yoshimi battles the giant robots in japanese, i think the title track actually
posted by melvinwang at 10:36 AM on February 15, 2008

Hyde, the lead singer of L'Arc~en~Ciel (Japanese band), has english versions of his solo albums.
posted by Julnyes at 10:39 AM on February 15, 2008

War does Low Rider in Spanish on this CD (which has an awesome three-d effect case, BTW) - not sure if it was originally written in Spanish or not.
posted by Rumple at 11:13 AM on February 15, 2008

Montreal based See Spot Run recorded french versions of some of their songs.
posted by davey_darling at 11:15 AM on February 15, 2008

M2M did a Mandarin version of their song "Pretty Boy", and possibly a few others that I don't know of.
posted by Arasithil at 11:15 AM on February 15, 2008

Pat Benatar did "La Cancion Ooh Ooh," a Spanish version of "The Ooh Ooh Song."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:53 AM on February 15, 2008

Rammstein did "Du Hast" in English.

Also "Engel"
posted by The Carolingian at 11:57 AM on February 15, 2008

Roxette are big in South America and have relased Spanish language albums. wiki
posted by Iteki at 1:18 PM on February 15, 2008

Cypress Hill is (was?) a bilingual group with many songs distributed in both English and Spanish. I'm unclear as to which versions would be considered to be in a "foreign language", though.

...loco en el coco!
posted by speedo at 1:18 PM on February 15, 2008

Found it... The programme on Radio 4 was called Pop in Translation, presented by Mark Radcliffe. Too late for listen again though. It was kind of interesting, about how record companies wanted to put a stop to performers in other European countries releasing covers of English songs in other languages, so they released translated songs by the original artists (the artists mostly didn't like having to record the songs, and they were often badly translated). It featured lots of the 60's bands that people here have mentioned, like Petula Clark and the Beetles, and more as well. Here's a Times review with a few more leads.
posted by Helga-woo at 2:04 PM on February 15, 2008

Rhett Miller recorded "Question" in French.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 6:08 PM on February 15, 2008

The German band Wir sind Helden (English Wikipedia) recorded versions of "Von hier an blind" in English ("Walking Blind"), French ("Le vide"), and Japanese ("Sa itte miyo"). They also recorded a French version of "Soundso" ("T'es comme ça").
posted by zztzed at 6:13 PM on February 15, 2008

Duran Duran did Spanish and French versions of their song Someone Else Not Me. The US release of the single (and album Pop Trash) had the Spanish version (Alguien Más Que No Soy Yo) and the Asian and European releases had the French (Un Autre Que Moi).
posted by Dreama at 2:41 AM on February 16, 2008

Celine Dion has recorded a Japanese version of Be The Man. This version of the song was included The Collector Series Volume One album.

Also, Shakira seems to record English & Spanish versions of her main singles.
posted by howiamdifferent at 5:43 AM on February 16, 2008

Barry Manilow's "En El Copa" ... seriously.
posted by softlord at 11:48 AM on February 16, 2008

Breed 77 have released English and Spanish versions of their songs; the album Un Encuentro contains the Spanish versions of the songs from their other albums - and if you're into rock/metal with fast drums and guitars, and a tune with lyrics that you can sing along to, then it comes recommended!
posted by Chunder at 5:16 AM on February 17, 2008

The German band Klee recorded the song "Gold" in German and in English.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:13 PM on February 29, 2008

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