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Neue Deutsche Welle

Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW), or “German New Wave,” was made extraordinarily popular in the 1970s and 1980s by the likes of Nena's "99 Luftballoons" and Trio's "Da Da Da"—and then left as quickly as it came. Conventional wisdom among artists dictates that it’s better to burn out than fade away, but this doesn’t tell the full story of NDW—the reason for its rapid rise and fall, the historical context that necessitated the genre, and where the energy of the NDW movement went after its end.


The genre has international influences but still demonstrates a uniquely German desire to build a new, sanitized identity in the aftermath of World War II. Originally quite subversive and underground, NDW became exponentially more mainstream until it could no longer sustain itself creatively. And rather than disappearing, it helped give rise to the post-Cold War rave craze and is still an important touchstone in music history.

Neue Deutsche Welle

  • Claudia Lonkin

    Examines the flash-in-the-pan Neue Deutsche Welle movement—its history, importance to youth rebellion in Germany and beyond, and ultimate (re)appropriation by the mainstream establishment.
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  • Book Details

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
    Publication Date: 04-04-2024
    Format: Paperback | 5 x 7 3/4 | 168 pages
  • About the Author

    Claudia Lonkin is a historian of popular music and culture based in the United States. Her research focuses on global music trends in the 1970s and 1980s, examining congruences and points of contrast between scenes in Europe and the Americas. She has been published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies and Punk & Post-Punk.

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