Nena was also the name of the band with whom she released the 1984 English recording of her most well-known song “99 Red Balloons” (orginally released in Germany in 1983 as “99 Luftballons”)
Nena acquired her nickname, which means “baby girl” in Spanish, at the age of 3 during a vacation to Spain. Her first band was called The Stripes (1979). They had a very minor hit with the song “Ecstasy”, but never managed to achieve broad success.
The band Nena was formed with Nena (singer), Rolf Brendel (drums), Carlo Karges (guitar), Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen (keyboard) and Jürgen Dehmel (bass) in Berlin in 1981. Their first hit single, “Nur geträumt” (“Only In Dreams”), came in 1982 after appearing on the German television program Musikladen.
The following year they released their self-titled first album, which contained the singles “99 Luftballons” and “Leuchtturm” (“Lighthouse”). “99 Luftballons” was a #1 hit in many countries (including the U.S.) and an English version of the song, “99 Red Balloons”, was recorded, and retains some measure of cultural influence, being referred to in current music - the Guster track Amsterdam. The song also featured in an episode of Scrubs, Gilmore Girls the film, Grosse Point Blank, and most recently the movie Watchmen. Nena then released ? (Fragezeichen) in 1984, Feuer und Flamme (“Fire And Flame”, means “to be all for it”) in 1985, Eisbrecher (“Icebreaker”) in 1986. During her success in the UK, Nena was also famous for having hairy armpits, which in the UK was unusual for a woman to have.
Nena (born Gabriele Susanne Kerner on March 24, 1960 in Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany) is a singer and actress and the co-founder (with three others) of the Neue Schule Hamburg, a school following the Sudbury model.
Nena started dating Swiss actor Benedict Freitag shortly after the band separated in 1987.
The couple had three children together, the first being Christopher Daniel, who was born disabled due to alleged medical mistakes made during the birth, which caused Nena to go into cardiac arrest. He died at the age of 11 months.
In 1990 they had twins, Larissa Maria and Sakias Manuel.
99 Red Balloons
You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got.
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone.
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message, Something's out there.
Floating in the summer sky.
99 red balloons go by.
99 red balloons.
floating in the summer sky.
Panic bells, it's red alert.
There's something here from somewhere else.
The war machine springs to life.
Opens up one eager eye.
Focusing it on the sky.
Where 99 red balloons go by.
99 Decision Street.
99 ministers meet.
To worry, worry, super-scurry.
Call the troops out in a hurry.
This is what we've waited for.
This is it boys, this is war.
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by.
99 Knights of the air
Ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a superhero.
Everyone's a Captain Kirk.
With orders to identify.
To clarify and classify.
Scramble in the summer sky.
As 99 red balloons go by.
99 dreams I have had.
In every one a red balloon.
It's all over and I'm standing pretty.
In this dust that was a city.
If I could find a souvenier.
Just to prove the world was here.
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go.