I’m a lyrics guy, but the right melody can travel the globe.
In 1985, Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” went to #1 in the USA, even though most of the lyrics are in German. Four years earlier, Falco’s “Der Kommissar,” also in German, was a smash across Europe, but stalled at #72 in the states.
My high school Deutsch ist vergessen, but “Der Kommissar” tells the story of a woman who really likes cocaine, has friends who died from cocaine, and is getting hassled by a police “commissioner.”
Then, in 1982, British band After the Fire rewrote “Der Kommissar” with English lyrics that tell the same basic story. Cocaine is still “sugar” and “snow.” This time, the song went to #5 in America.
A year later in 1983, Laura Branigan released the LP, Branigan2. “Deep in the Dark” wasn’t a single, but here Laura is, performing the song on “American Bandstand.” (Jump ahead to the 6:00 mark.) The melody should sound familiar, but other than “Check it out, Joe,” the new lyrics are written by Bill Bowersock, now a Los Angeles real estate agent. (Isn’t everyone?)
In 2007, Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons did a very “karaoke” version of “Der Kommissar,” but let’s close out this post with Brazilian band Comunidade Ninjitsu and 2003’s “Rap do Trago” (“I Bring the Rap”). If my Google Fu is strong, it’s about a guy who has to get drunk before he can talk to girls.