Formed in West Berlin in 1982, Nena was a new wave/pop quintet fronted by Gabriele Kerner. The band is best known for the hit “99 Luftballons” (sung in their native language) and “99 Red Balloons” (sung in English). Nena formed when Kerner and her then-boyfriend Rolf Brendel (drummer) had left their previous band, The Stripes. Adding guitarist Carlo Karges, bassist Jürgen Dehmel, and keyboarist Jörn-Uwe Fahrenkrog-Peterson, the band was named after Kerner’s nickname since she was a child. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1983. The album featured the massively successful single “99 Luftballons”, which reached the top spot on the single charts in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland. The band released their sophomore album, ?, in 1984, then followed that up with 99 Luftballons, an ‘international’ album release that featured tracks from Nena and ?, some of them re-recorded in English. While “99 Red Balloons” was released as a single in the U.S. and was a big hit, many radio stations and listeners preferred the version sung in Deutsch. The band released their third album Feuer und Flamme, in June, 1985. Six months later they issued It’s All in the Game, the English language version of Feuer und Flamme. The band continued to release a series of singles in Europe that were met with varying levels of success, but their releases achieved little success in the U.S. Nena released their fourth album, Eisbrecher, in 1986. While their previous releases hit the Number 1 or Number 2 spot on the German album charts, this album only rose to Number 45. Nena, the band, split in 1987 and Kerner continued a solo career under her Nena nickname. The band members have come together in various formations since the split but never a full-time reunion. Guitarist Karges dies in 2002.

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Stations Featuring Nena

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