Various Artists - Sprechen Sie Pop?
2) Skalden - Du hast mich lieb
3) Adamo - Zeit ist Geld
4) Sandie Shaw – Sommerwind
5) Rote Gitarren - Ich steh' hier und warte
6) Juliette Gréco - Die Gammlerin
7) Graham Bonney - Das Girl mit dem La-La-La
8) Antoine - Hallo Bonjour Salut
9) Severine - Heißer als Feuer
10) Joe Dassin - Sie war ooh!
11) Barbara - Wenn schon sterben dann schon sterben
12) Paul Anka - Mir geht es gut
13) Kati Kovács - Flügel mit zwei Beinen
14) France Gall - Wassermann und Fisch
15) Elisa Gabbai - Winter in Kanada
16) Sue & Sunny - Shame On You
17) Sylvie Vartan - Ein kleines Herz auf der Haut
18) Illés - Hier stand die Sonne hoch
“Parlez vous Pop?” asked BUREAU B around some twelve months ago on a CD which had non-native speakers sing in French. Now the question is SPRECHEN SIE POP?, their latest compilation presenting artists from other countries who sing in German. Or rather sang, because again we are moving in that beautiful borderland between beat, easy listening, chanson and pop that were the 1960s and ‘70s. When music hadn’t lost its innocence and singers conquered the hearts of their audience with their charming, broken German.
It could hardly have been the melodious sing-song of the German language that had so many foreign vocalists tie their tongues in knots to master the lingo. It was, as always, all about fame and fortune – at least as far as the West of the country, which was still divided at the time, was concerned. After all, Germany was one of the greatest music markets in the world during those years, and few acts were spared. It’s a well-known fact that the Beatles and Elvis recorded the odd German track, and even Johnny Cash, The Temptations and the Beach Boys had to twist their tongues around German words at their record company’s behest.
The situation in Germany’s East was slightly different: the GDR’s political leaders were eager to prove to their citizens, who had already been contaminated by the capitalist media, that their socialist allies had a lot to offer in terms of hot beat music. The artists from the Eastern Bloc countries in turn hoped for a chance to make it to the other side of the Iron Curtain during their visits to East Germany (following in the footsteps of Czech crooner Karel Gott).
Most of the male and female singers didn’t have a clue just what they were singing about in that difficult-to-master tongue. Record companies hired translators, then the lyrics were written out in phonetics. Which worked fairly well as a rule, as recordings by Rote Gitarren or Paul Anka prove – both of whom reportedly didn’t speak a word of German.
The compilation consciously gets by without established foreign stars such as Howard Carpendale, Roberto Blanco, Gitte and Mireille Matthieu, who were so omnipresent in Germany during their heyday that they were hardly considered “foreigners”, their accent being perceived almost as some kind of dialect.
For more information about the singers and their songs, please see the attached track-by-track liner notes. Have fun!
Release date: October 24th, 2008