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'Den Weg Zurück': Pop Tunes Translated

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'Den Weg Zurück': Pop Tunes Translated

Music

'Den Weg Zurück': Pop Tunes Translated

'Den Weg Zurück': Pop Tunes Translated

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4777378/4777387" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Hear the foreign-language versions of hit English-language songs:

Johnny Cash Sings 'I Walk the Line' in German ('Wer kennt den Weg')

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David Bowie Sings to the Tune of 'Space Oddity' ('Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola') in Italian

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'Get Back' by The Beatles, in German ('Geh Raus')

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For the past few years, producer Jennifer Sharpe has amassed a small collection of what she likes to call "foreign tongue recordings." They're versions of hit songs from the American charts, sung by the original artists, usually in German, Italian or French.

"Wer kennt den Weg, den Weg zurück" -- Johnny Cash performs, circa 1978. Bettmann/CORBIS hide caption

toggle caption Bettmann/CORBIS

The singers learned the lyrics phonetically, line by line, taught by a language coach. Sharpe says the songs were recorded in a time when English-language songs had a tough time making it in Europe.

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