Berlin is full of music, from Zoo Station to Prenzlauer Berg and at every single corner. Being the center of the German music scene Berlin lives off the rhythms and melodies of its time. There are countless songs about the capital, here come the places 10 to 6 of our Top10 Berlin Songs:
place10: PRENZLAUERBERG (Beirut)
Musician Zach Cordon, mastermind of the band Beirut, has never lived in Berlin; especially not in the trendy borough Prenzlauer Berg. Nonetheless, since the sound of his folk electronica project Beirut is a fusion of east and west it stands somehow for the borough: dilapidated ruins in the GDR, subculture and squatters after the turnaround, nowadays noble neighborhood and yuppies. “I watch and wait as I let more time decide”, sings Condon – quite accurate.
place9: MEIN BLOCK (Sido)
The nightmare of all parents-in-law presented in 2004 his debut single with a silver mask and a mean thugh life image. His declaration of love to the “Märkisches Viertel” (MV), an ugly high-rise district in the north of Berlin, is full of swearing, sex and poverty, was on the pulse of the time, and helped to get the Berlin-style AGGRO Rap into the charts. Rapper Sido, whose civil name is Paul Hartmut Würdig and who is a trained kindergarten teacher, got later rid of his mask and raps now about family live and birthday parties with friends. Still, the MV in Berlin will always be “his city, his borough, his area, his hood, his street, his home, his block”.
place8: THE PASSENGER (Iggy Pop)
In the late 70s, Iggy Pop and David Bowie shared a house in Schöneberg and experimented with their sexuality, drugs, and the great freedom of West Berlin. During a nightly ride on the subway the lyrics to Iggy’s famous song came to his mind: “I am the passenger and I ride and I ride, I ride through the city’s backside. I see the stars come out of the sky.” One year later he had been cruising through Berlin enough and bid the city farewell. “So let’s ride and ride and ride and ride…”
place7: “HEROES” (David Bowie)
THE hymn of the wall! The song, that was written during the two productive years Bowie spent in Berlin, tells of love in the time of the Berlin Wall. There has been much speculation about whether or not the couple Bowie sang about ever existed in real life, and the recording sessions in Kreuzberg’s Hansa Studios are quite a legend, too. The pathetic love song has been the soundtrack of many Berliner youths and has been popular ever since. “We can be heroes”, not just “for one day”.
place6: WIR STEHN AUF BERLIN (Ideal)
Bowie and Pop had just left when the “Neue Deutsche Welle” (German New Wave) took over the charts. Berlin’s grandmasters of the style were the band Ideal surrounding the talented singer Anette Humpe. In their debut single from 1980 they stroll from Zoo Station to Kreuzberg, passing doggie do and ruins, somewhere between Kurfürstendamm and the Turkish boroughs around Oranienstraße. A musical declaration of love without peer: crazy, wild, and loud as the city itself: “I feel good, I dig Berlin!”
Already have some songs stuck in your head? Next week we’ll present the second half of our Top10 Songs about Berlin!
Blogger at Industriepalast Hostel
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.