99 Luftballoons

The song Lorelai is listening to while waiting to give birth at the hospital.

“99 Luftballons” (in German, “99 Balloons”) is a 1983 song by the German band Nena from their self-titled album. It is an anti-war song, telling the story of a devastating war without victors which was originally sparked by the release of 99 balloons, believed to be UFOs. Written by guitarist Carlos Karges, he was inspired by balloons released at a Rolling Stones concert in West Berlin, noticing that they looked like spacecraft as they changed shape in the air. He wondered what might happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall into the Soviet-controlled East Berlin.

“99 Luftballons” went to #1 in West Germany, and many other countries around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. It reached #2 in the US.

An English-language version called “99 Red Balloons” was written by Irish musician Kevin McAlea, and recorded by Nena. It went to #1 in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia, but wasn’t a hit in either West Germany or the US. Australia is the only country where both versions went to #1. The band did not care for the English-language version, and thought the lyrics were “silly”.

Not only was this song popular the year before Lorelai had Rory, it also provides a little callback to the scene in this episode where Lorelai and Rory talk about visiting the Berlin Wall.

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