Top 10 Hit Songs Sung In A Language Other Than English



Top 10 Hit Songs Sung In A Language Other Than English

How does that song go again? For this list, we're looking at non-English songs that became international hits. Our countdown includes “The Ketchup Song”, “Rock Me Amadeus”, “Sukiyaki”, “99 Luftballons” and “La Bamba” just to name a few.

Top 10 Hit Songs Sung in a Language Other Than English

You can become an international music phenomenon in any mother tongue. Welcome to and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hit Songs Sung in a Language Other Than English.
For this list we're looking at those amazing pop tracks that stuck in our ears even though we couldn't understand what they were saying. We're basing our picks on a mix of cultural relevance, the addictive quality of the song and how long they spent on the charts.

#10: "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986)

For hs third album, Austrian New Wave artist Falco wrote a love letter to one of the world's first musical mega stars. A son of Vienna, Austria just like Mozart, Falco celebrates the composer's eccentric career and calls him the world's first punk. The track made Falco the first German-speaking artist to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Despite his massive success in Europe, the song was Falco's only number hit in the Western world. The song's instantly recognizable hook has even made it ripe for parody on the internet and even 'The Simpsons' decades later .

#9: "Dominique" (1963)
Soeur Sourire

Belgian nun Jeanine Deckers became a global sensation after being encouraged to take her music outside the convent walls. Written about the founder of her own religious order, 'Dominque' encourages the listener to endure in the face of hardship. Sailing up charts around the world, Deckers also recorded versions in English, Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese, among others. Following President Kennedy's assassination, the track became an American hit thanks to its calming sound. The song's success and Deckers' life were even  treated to a 1966 movie starring Debbie Reynolds. It's still widely used today in series like 'Mad Men' and 'American Horror Story', and inspired a singing nun in 'The Simpsons.'

#8: "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (2002)
Las Ketchup

Armed with a silly dance and even crazier lyrics, Spanish sister trio Las Ketchup mumbled their way to stardom. While the song inspired controversy for alleged satanic references, the lyrics are actually about a magic gypsy. Despite having Portuguese and even a Spanglish version of the song, the chorus is seemingly gibberish in all of them. As keen listeners have pointed out however, the lyrics are actually a clever butchering of The Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight.' The lyrics really didn't seem to matter however, as the song went to number one in over 20 countries and has even appeared in video games.


#7: "Sukiyaki" (1963)
Kyu Sakamoto

Annoyed with the continued American military presence in Japan, lyricist Rokusuke Ei wrote words to what would become a deceptively fun protest song. Speaking to Japan's harsh times following the war, Kyu Sakamoto sings about staying hopeful towards the future. Despite its political content, the song managed to top American charts - the first Japanese song to ever do so. Its catchy melody made it one of the best-selling singles of all time, charting highly in Australia, the United Kingdom and even Norway. While originally titled to match its lyrics, it was renamed after a popular Japanese dish in English-speaking markets so Western DJs could pronounce it.

#6: "We No Speak Americano" (2010)
Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP

Despite containing mostly Southern Italian lyrics, this modern dance hit comes from Australia of all places. Pumping up a sample of Renato Carosone's 'Tu Vuo Fa L'Americano,' Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP made a global dance classic. Peaking at number 4 in Australia, the song soared to number one in over a dozen foreign countries. While the track has become a party standard, the lyrics critique lavish American lifestyles. And funnily enough, America was one of the few countries where the song didn't top the charts. The track found its way into Korean television, and has even been sampled by Pitbull.

#5: "99 Luftballons" (1983)

In the midst of the Cold War, Nena crafted a political track with a haunting story. After 99 balloons attract military attention, a series of misunderstandings lead to an endless war. The timely message and upbeat melodies made the song a huge hit regardless of its German lyrics. Despite creating an English version for international markets, the German original outperformed it virtually everywhere but the U.K. and Canada. The song has endured so well that someone donated thirty-five thousand dollars to VH1 in 2006 to broadcast the music video for a full hour. 

#4: "Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)" (1996)
Los Del Rio

Released as a rumba song in 1993, "Macarena" was already a hit in the Latin community before the Bayside Boys made their iconic remix three years later. Melodically exciting, the song's lyrics are actually about a cheating girlfriend named Macarena. The remix's catchy beat and accessible dance made it a global phenomenon, spending an insane 14 weeks atop Billboard Hot 100. The song also made a splash at the 1996 Democratic National Convention, where Hillary Clinton and even Al Gore were dancing along. Spending over a year on the charts, the song and dance are still a huge hit at weddings to this day.

#3: "Gangnam Style" (2012)

Though PSY was already popular in his native South Korea, crafting a viral video made him one of the most popular stars in history. Mixing explosions, butt-worship and a memorable dance, PSY's music video caught on around the world. The song's global chart domination has increased the popularity of Korean food and prompted the South Korean government to support more domestic acts.  The music video became the most viewed video on YouTube in 2012 and would remain that way until 2017.The dance's world-wide success was even marked by the United Nations as a tool to bring the world together through music.

#2: "Despacito" (2017)
Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee

Whether you love or hate this Latin-American sensation, its accomplishments speak for themselves. After waking up one morning with a melody in his head, Luis Fonsi penned an instant classic about taking things slowly with someone you love. The song's intoxicating rhythms made it the most streamed song ever, earning multiple awards and chart placement as a result. Justin Bieber's remix also helped the song's popularity in America. The video overtook 'See You Again' to become the most watched video on YouTube, holding over five billion views. The song was eventually surpassed on Latin American charts by J Balvin and Willy William's 'Mi Gente.'  
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
"Du hast" (1997)
"Gasolina" (2004)
Daddy Yankee
"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" (1994)

#1: "La Bamba" (1958 & 1987)
Ritchie Valens & Los Lobos

Considering how iconic this Latin-American hit is to this day, it should be no surprise that it's dominated the charts multiple times. Originating as a Mexican folk song, it was Ritchie Valen's rock version that brought the song to the masses. Gaining success in Europe and North America,  Valen's take peaked at 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song's success and Valen's tragic death inspired the 1987 biopic 'La Bamba.' Los Lobos' cover version for the film was an instant smash, hitting number one internationally. It's also the only non-English song on Rolling Stone's '500 Greatest Songs of All Time.'
Do you agree with our picks? What foreign language hit had you dancing? For more exotic top 10s published daily, subscribe to