Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gangnam Style Foreign Language Surprise?

So I don't need to write much about Gangnam Style, it's a huge hit

Some folks I know are surprised a song sung mostly in Korean could become such a hit in America.  Other than the occasional, "Hey sexy lady", the song has no discernible lyrics to a native English speaker.

My response to the surprise was, "Why not?  It's not like some other non-English songs were hits."  What were some other hits that came to mind:

The La Bamba cover by Ritchie Valens is 100% in Spanish yet considered one of the most classic American rock songs.

99 Luft Ballons by Nena was in German before it was in English.

The Macarena by Los del Rio was in Spanish before it was English. But even the English version maintained the full chorus in Spanish.

I didn't know about the following until doing some internet searches, but apparently a the song Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto hit #1 in the US in 1963, yet was sung entirely in Japanese.

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