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15 American Pop Hits That Aren't in English

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 23, 2015 10:00pm | Post a Comment
In the United States there is no official language and in roughly 18% of American homes, one of hundreds of languages other than English is primarily spoken -- all of which, unless they're indigenousshould be considered "foreign languages." In Los Angeles, everyday you can hear pop songs on the radio in Cantonese, English, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese and although I often find that pop music is better when the lyrics are unintelligible, only a handful of pop songs in a language other than English have made the journey onto the pop charts -- here are fifteen (or so).



Harry Choates's "Jole Blon" (1946, French



Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)"



Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)" (1958, Italian







Ritchie Valens's “La Bamba” (1959, Spanish)


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Kyu Sakamoto's "Sukiyaki" -- originally  "????????" or "I Look Up as I Walk" (1961, Japanese)






Soeur Sourire's "Dominique" (1963, French) 


Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin



Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's “Je T’Aime … Moi Non Plus” (1969, French)






Mocedades
“Eres Tu” (1973, Spanish)






Plastic Bertrand's “Ça Plane Pour Moi” (1977, French) 


Nena's "99 Luftballons"



Nena's "99 Luftballons" (1984, German






Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" (1987, German) 






Los Lobos' "La Bamba" (1987, Spanish)






Enigma's "Sadeness (Part I)" (1991, Latin and French) 






Deep Forest
's "Sweet Lullaby" (1992, Baeggu)






Los Del Rio's "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" (1996, Spanish) 


Shakira LA Tortura

 

Shakira with Alejandro Sanz's “La Tortura” (2005, Spanish)




 

Psy's "Gangnam Style" (2012, Korean)


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Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

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