Rock songs with non-English lyrics?

How many rock songs (~1958 - present) can you think of which have some lyrics of a foreign language?

Billy Joel has several with French lyrics. Chicago has at least one with Italian. I’d lump in Ricky Martin is living La Viva Loco. I’m drawing a blank, but there must be a lot more!

What else ya rockers got?

  • Jinx

Warren Zevon does Russian in “Turmoil.”

Warren Zevon also does Spanish in “Vera Cruz” and Hawaiian in “The Hula Hula Boys.”

And of course, McCartney sang French in “Michelle.”

Well, it depends on 1) how you define “rock”, and 2) how you define “singing in a foreign language.”

Is it enough that a line or two of the song be in another language? Or does most/all of it have to be in another language?

If a line or two of a foreign language is enough…

  1. The Beatles’ “Michelle” has a few lines of French (“Michelle, ma belle, sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble.”)

  2. Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers” features the French chant “Jeux sans frontieres (games without frontiers).”

Songs I can think of that were sung completely in other languages?

  1. “Dominique” by the Singing Nun
  2. “Der Komissar” by Falco
  3. “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens
  4. “Volare”

Beyond that, Enya regularly sings in Gaelic (half the songs on “Watermark”) and even Latin (“Cursum Perficio,” which means, roughly, “I finish the race” or “I complete the journey”).

I could add “Voulez-vous coucher c’est soir avec moi” from “Lady Marmalade” from the disco era. My French is really rusty, so please pardon me if my quote is written in Rustic French! :wink:

  • Jinx

“99 Luftballoons” by someone, and I don’t care enough to google it.

Speaking of McCartney (and Wings), what/who is the Mull of Kintyre? Is that Gaelic? Somehow related to the name McIntyre, perhaps?

  • Jinx

Yes, good one! It was by “Nina” singing in German.
Also in German, “Major Tom” by Peter Schilling.

  • Jinx

The Beatles “Sun King” from Abbey Road.

But Nina did two versions of the song “99 Luftballoons”, the other one was “99 Red Balloons”, with utterly inane lyrics in English:

‘99 Luftballons’ was sung by Nena–not Nina (Hagen), who’s another German singer. Nina’s called the ‘Mother of Punk’ and does lots of rock in German. It’s just a coincidence that the two singers share similar names.

Ton Steine Scherben was a German classic rock group–long hair, protest songs, lots of acoustic guitar. Older Germans present might remember ‘Der Traum ist Aus’–that was them. Weren’t they great?

Joe Strummer repeats half the lyrics in Spanish in Should I Stay or Should I Go.

There’s there 1 really stupid band called Rammtein that had a song called Du Hast. It was all in German

There’s some others, but I can’t think of them

The Pixies have many song in spanish and partially in spanish.

Isla De Encanta
Crackity Jones
Oh My Golly!
Evil Hearted You


“Pretty Fly for a White Guy” by Offspring: “Uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, cinco seis”

“Loser” by Beck: “Soy un perdedor”

Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus is pretty much all in German, with a few words of English thrown in for good luck.

The Mull of Kintyre is a small lake on the western side of Scotland. Why it is called a Mull as opposed to Loch as most lakes in Scotland are, I don’t know.


Hello? Santana anyone?

Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together), by Queen, is partially sing in Japanese.

“Teo torriate kono mama iko
isurohito yo
shizu kana yoi ne
hikario tomoshi
itoshiki oshieo idaki”

It’s gibberish, though.

And maybe the foreign bands are outside the scope of the OP?

Hrm, well, as for an example, I can think of “Anarchy In the USA,” a Spanish version of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In the UK” on the soundtrack to The Million Dollar Hotel.

Yep. That’s why I didn’t attempt to identify the language.

The execrable but often played on oldies stations “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto was allegedly in Japanese (not speaking the language, I can’t validate that, but it definitely wasn’t English).

[url=“”]Map of Scotland. The Mull of Kintyre is the long peninsula that stretches south-south-west between the islands of Islay and Arran just northeast of the word “North” labelling North Channel.

Amusing sidelight: According to material I read a while ago (and can’t vouch for the accuracy of), the shape and positioning of the Mull of Kintyre was for many years the legal standard in the U.K, for obscenity – displaying a turgid or erect penis in print being considered to be obscene, a flaccid penis dangling at a smaller angle than the Mull was legal but one that “angled more towards Northern Ireland” than the Mull was considered obscene. The logic was that nearly everywhere would have maps of Great Britain, and the Mull made a ready reference in evaluating a picture’s violation of the statute.