Always a child of rock’n’roll, NENA’s career began in her hometown at 17 as the singer of her first band, The Stripes. English was still lingua franca for pop music at the time and their first single “Ecstasy” appeared in 1979, with their self-titled debut following in 1980. The energy of the small town band was pure and simple rock’n’roll but was a playful sample of what NENA would be capable of.
After the Stripes broke up in 1981 and NENA moved to West Berlin with Stripes’ drummer Rolf Brendel, she formed her eponymous band NENA with Brendel, Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen, Carlo Karges and Jürgen Dehmel. Along with a band change, came a language change as well. NENA’s songs were from then on sung in German – at that time relatively new for pop, new wave and rock music in Germany. In May of 1982, the band performed their first single “Nur geträumt” (“Just a Dream”) on German music TV program Musikladen and sold 40,000 copies of the single within one day. NENA became the biggest name in German new wave in little over a heartbeat.
But It was their second single “99 Luftballons” that pushed NENA out of West Germany and into the wider world. The German-language hit struck a chord everywhere it landed, securing a number one spot in the US Cashbox charts, as well as top chart spots in Europe, Japan, Mexico, Canada and Australia.
The two singles proved no fluke and their first two albums Nena and ? (Fragezeichen) (Question Mark) were smash hits making them the poster children of German new wave and opening up the rest of the world’s eyes not only to NENA but Germany’s music scene in general.
With 25 million records sold worldwide, NENA is one of the most successful German artists of all time. And: You have to see NENA live! Her energetic stage presence is as distinctive and captivating as her voice. NENA influenced several generations of music fans with her music, and to this day she stands for an attitude to life that is somehow and somewhere at home in every person. NENA remains one of the most authentic singers of the time and a large piece of pop culture made in Germany.The two singles proved no fluke and their first two albums Nena and ? (Fragezeichen) (Question Mark) were smash hits making them the poster children of German new wave and opening up the rest of the world’s eyes not only to NENA but Germany’s music scene in general.
Catch up with NENA on her upcoming tour WIR GEHÖREN ZUSAMMEN 2024 and witness a legend writing music history since over 40 years, in a continous manner.