Time to remaster and re-update another one of my “Best Of”-videos. Today it’s time for one of the most successful German-speaking singer internationally. Nena was born as Gabriele Susanne Kerner in Hagen, Germany. She got her name “Nena” when she with her family visited Spain – she was 3 then. Spanish people called her “Nena” for “Little Girl” and her parents loved that name and used it since then. In 1979 her musical career started when guitarrist Rainer Kitzmann formed a group called “The Stripes” and invited her to be the lead-singer of the group (He saw her in a club). Though they never had success and disbanded in 1982, the record-company offered Nena a deal if she would make music with German lyrics. Nena accepted and her then boyfriend Rolf Brendel moved to Berlin where they met guitarrist Carlo Karges, keyboard player Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen and bass player Jürgen Dehmel. Together they formed the band ‘Nena’. In June 1982 they released their first single “Nur geträumt (Only dreaming)”. The song became an instant hit and reached #2 in the German Single Charts. In 1983 they released their first album “Nena” including the single “99 Luftballons” which became one of the biggest hits with German lyrics ever. It topped the German Single Charts as well as the charts in Netherlands, Australia, Sweden and reached #2 in the USA. An English version called “99 Red Balloons” was released and topped the UK Single Charts, as well as the charts in Ireland and Canada. It sold over 1 million units in the USA alone – then a Gold certificate, and was also certified Gold in Germany, France and the Netherlands. The album topped the German and Austrian album charts, and reached #2 in the Netherlands. It was certified Platinum in Germany and the Netherlands.
In 1984 Nena and her band released their 2nd album “? (Fragezeichen)” Fragezeichen = Question Mark. The album again topped the German album charts, as well as the charts in Austria and Switzerland and peaked at #2 in the Netherlands. It was certified platinum in Germany and Gold in the Netherlands. The single “? (Fragezeichen)” peaked at #3 in Germany. 1985 the band released their 3rd album “Feuer und Flamme” (Fire and Flame) – it peaked at #2 in Germany and was certified Gold. After a not so successful album “Eisbrecher” (Ice breaker) in 1986 the group disbanded in 1987.
In 1989 Nena started her solo-career with the single “Wunder gescheh’n” (Miracles happen). At the end of the year she released her first solo-album under the same name. The album was heavily influenced from personal experiences as Nena lost her disabled son after 11 months and later birthed twins. Though her songs were critically acclaimed they couldn’t reach the heights of her early 80s career anymore and in 1993 the record-company did not renew the contract.
In 2002 Nena celebrated her 20th anniversary on stage with the album “Nena feat. Nena” – it contained the songs from her early 80s band career newly arranged, including the single “Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime” – a duet with Kim Wilde, which reached #3 in Germany and topped the charts in Austria and the Netherlands. The album peaked at #2 in Germany and was certified triple platinum. In 2005 Nena released her next album “Willst du mit mir gehen” (Do you want to go with me). It included the single “Liebe ist” (Love Is) which became Nena’s 2nd #1 hit in Germany. The single “Willst du mit mir gehen” also reached the Top 10 and the album peaked at #2. In 2007 Nena released her next album “Cover Me” where she covered some of her favorite songs from other artists.
In 2009 Nena released the album “Made In Germany” – the first one under her own label – it peaked at #3 in the German album charts. The single “In meinem Leben” (In my life) reached #4 in the German Single Charts and became her 14th Top Ten hit in her homecountry and so far her final. In 2012 she released her 11th studio album “Du bist gut” (You are good) – it peaked at #2 in Germany and in 2015 her so far final album “Oldschool” was released.
So here now are my favorite 25 songs of this German legend. Hope you enjoy! What are your favorites? Write in the comments and discuss this ranking if you like but please respect the opinion of others. Thank you.