15 American Pop Hits That Aren’t in English

In the United States there is no official language and in roughly 18% of American homes, one of hundreds of languages other than English is primarily spoken — all of which, unless they’re indigenousshould be considered “foreign languages.” In Los Angeles, everyday you can hear pop songs on the radio in Cantonese, English, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese and although I often find that pop music is better when the lyrics are unintelligible, only a handful of pop songs in a language other than English have made the journey onto the pop charts — here are fifteen (or so).

Harry Choates - Jole Blon

Harry Choates‘s “Jole Blon” (1946, French)

Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)"

Domenico Modugno‘s “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)” (1958, Italian)

Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens‘s “La Bamba” (1959, Spanish)


Kyu Sakamoto‘s “Sukiyaki” — originally  “上を向いて歩こう” or “I Look Up as I Walk” (1961, Japanese)

Soeur Sourire‘s “Dominique” (1963, French)

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin‘s “Je T’Aime … Moi Non Plus” (1969, French)

Mocedades's “Eres Tu"

Mocedades‘ “Eres Tu” (1973, Spanish)

Plastic Bertrand's “Ça Plane Pour Moi”

Plastic Bertrand‘s “Ça Plane Pour Moi” (1977, French)

Nena's "99 Luftballons"

Nena‘s “99 Luftballons” (1984, German)

Falco Rock Me Amadeus

Falco‘s “Rock Me Amadeus” (1987, German)

Los Lobos - La Bamba

Los Lobos“La Bamba” (1987, Spanish)

Enigma Sadeness

Enigma‘s “Sadeness (Part I)” (1991, Latin and French)

Deep Forest Sweet Lullaby

Deep Forest‘s “Sweet Lullaby” (1992, Baeggu)

Los Del Rio's "Macarena

Los Del Rio‘s “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” (1996, Spanish)

Shakira LA Tortura

Shakira with Alejandro Sanz‘s “La Tortura” (2005, Spanish)Psy Gangnam Style

Psy‘s “Gangnam Style” (2012, Korean)

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