In Another Language

In Another Language
Songs in another language include The Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By” in Italian.
Music That Cuts Across Borders

This week on Music 101, music… In Another Language.


In the earlier days of rock, musicians recorded songs in other languages to increase chances of getting songs played in different countries. It’s a strategy that helped market songs to new customers while sounding familiar at the same time.

It was challenging, though. Most times, the musicians didn’t sing in these new languages. To say the least, this made singing and recording a bit uncomfortable. This all led to some very interesting versions of songs you might know. 

At the end of the 60s, the trend somewhat died out, but the practice continues to this day. 

In Another Language features native English speakers singing in their first language, translating the lyrics into a different tongue. But that wasn’t always the case.

For example, Richie Valens was a multilingual musician, and his version of “La Bamba”, a traditional Mexican folk song, is actually sung in its original tongue. For Valens, “La Bamba”, became his singular hit. 

In other songs featured this week, The Beatles learned how to sing in German, reflecting their time in Hamburg; Chubby Checker does “The Twist” in German, and The Stones sing in Italian, plus many more incredible versions of songs … In Another Language.