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Old 09-09-2019, 09:13 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
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Foreign language hits


I tuned into a classic rock station last week, and heard Santana's Oye Como Va. As a child, I remember Eres Tu. Then there was Mas Que Nada. More into my era, there was Rock Me Amadeus and 99 Luftbalons. Relatively recently there was Gangnam Style. But it seems to me that there were more foreign language hits in the U.S. when I was a kid than there have been recently.

True, or am I just out of touch?
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:51 PM
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How dare you forget "La Bamba?"
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:57 PM
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How dare you also forget "Sukiyaki."

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Old 09-09-2019, 10:01 PM
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"The 7 Foreign-Language Songs That Have Topped The US Charts"
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:05 AM
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Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba is mostly in Xhosa.

Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 is in Portugese.

The Girl from Ipanema by Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto is partly in Portugese.

Águas De Março by Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Desafinado by Stan Getz and João Gilberto are in Portugese, but I don't know if they count as hits. They're very well-known in the jazz world, but not so much as pop songs in the U.S.
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Last edited by Jeff Lichtman; 09-10-2019 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:20 AM
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Last year there was a thread about this, though not really focusing on recent changes.

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Old 09-10-2019, 05:58 AM
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Guantanamera - the Sandpipers
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:07 AM
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Not sure if it counts as a 'hit', but "Du Hast" by Rammstein got a fair amount of radio airplay in the U.S.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:41 AM
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How do you measure hits these days? Gangnam Style was pretty popular a few years back but I don't ever remember hearing it on the radio.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:43 AM
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"Hocus Pocus" by Focus. Yodeling is a foreign language, right?
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:49 AM
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Rosalía just brought down the ceiling at the Grammys and I'm reasonably sure "Malamente" ain't in inglés.
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Last edited by Nava; 09-10-2019 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
How do you measure hits these days? Gangnam Style was pretty popular a few years back but I don't ever remember hearing it on the radio.
The Hot 100 these days is ranked these days with a mix of sales (including digital sales), airplay, and streaming (apparently, US views for a song on Youtube is included.) Info here

Quote:
"Generally speaking, our Hot 100 formula targets a ratio of sales (35-45%), airplay (30-40%) and streaming (20-30%)."

[...]

Of course, that's an overall target for 100 songs each week. That mark can change week-to-week.

[...]
And, week-to-week, some songs show largely along those percentages, while others skew noticeably toward any of the chart's three metrics.

Let's look at a few, starting with "Wrecking Ball."

This week, points for the Hot 100's leader stem 50% from streaming, 43% from sales and just 7% from radio airplay.
"Gangnam Style" reached #2 on the Hot 100. I do remember it being somewhat played on radio, but I mostly remember it from weddings/parties, news stories, and just general pop culture. I think I may have watched the video two or three times as well (so that would have counted in the data, as US impressions on Youtube do seem to count -- not specifically mentioned in that article, but it's mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the Hot 100.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 09-10-2019 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I tuned into a classic rock station last week, and heard Santana's Oye Como Va. [...] Then there was Mas Que Nada. [...]But it seems to me that there were more foreign language hits in the U.S. when I was a kid than there have been recently.
Spanish is not a "foreign language" in the USA. If you mean "hits not in English", why not say that?

And regaeton is HUGE at the moment. You may have heard of a little* song called Despacito?


* only the most watched youtube video of all time...

Last edited by MrDibble; 09-11-2019 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:29 AM
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People, please read what the OP actually said. The key question is this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
But it seems to me that there were more foreign language hits in the U.S. when I was a kid than there have been recently.

True, or am I just out of touch?

He is asking about RECENT foreign language hits. Listing hits from the 50's to the 90's misses the entire point.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:28 AM
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South Korean boy band BTS has hit the Billboard Top Ten twice with songs at least partly in Korean. Not sure how long they stayed in the charts or if they're considered true hits - I've never heard them but I'm not the band's target demographic.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Spanish is not a "foreign language" in the USA. If you mean "hits not in English", why not say that?

And regaeton is HUGE at the moment. You may have heard of a little* song called Despacito?


* only the most watched youtube video of all time...
Neither are Korean, or Chinese, or German, or French... but it's the convention used by among others the Oscars. Shorthand names are inaccurate pretty much by definition: the accurate version is the one that's being shortened.
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Last edited by Nava; 09-11-2019 at 05:30 AM.
  #17  
Old 09-11-2019, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Neither are Korean, or Chinese, or German, or French...
I'd argue that Spanish (and to a much lesser extent French) are not like Korean, German or Chinese, in terms of their "foreign-ness", in that they are mother tongues of groups of people who are not immigrants to the US, but existed in-place before the US took them over.

And what the Oscars class as foreign isn't really relevant, they're a hidebound and old-fashioned institution. And in any case, US films can't be entered for the International Feature award category, so whether Spanish is or isn't a foreign language to the US isn't addressed by the contemporary Oscars anyway.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
People, please read what the OP actually said. [...]
He is asking about RECENT foreign language hits. Listing hits from the 50's to the 90's misses the entire point.
The reggaeton trend is happening right now.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:45 AM
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Pink Martini, an American band from Portland, has had a couple of minor foreign-lanuage hits, like "Sympathique" and "Donde Estas, Yolanda?" I think they only charted in other countries, though. A lot of their music is in other languages.
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