The Power of Three: 90s songs about war


Kerry Naylor

Three songs about war from around the Cold War era.

Eli Vaglica, Staff Writer

War. War never changes, but humanity does. As we can see from the lyrics of bands who lived through the Cold War and seeing the Berlin Wall torn down along with the sweeping changes that occurred afterwards, music brought a great impact on the hearts and minds of the people living during this period that were still living in the pain of war and change.

99 Red Balloons/Nena/YouTube

99 Red Balloons by Nena: This song talks about the singer letting go of 99 red balloons and it shows up on the radars of countries, who prepare for nuclear war after a fighter jet pilot shoots them down for fun. It then causes a nuclear war for the most pointless of reasons. It’s like a metaphor for how wars get started over basically nothing. This song was originally in German and it was called 99 Luftballons. Though Nena is a bit of a one-hit wonder, this was a pretty popular song.

Wind of Change/Scorpions/YouTube

Wind of Change by Scorpions: “Did you ever think that we could be so close, like brothers…” Although the Scorpions are a German band they were invited to play at the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1988 and that inspired this song. It has a lot to do with the changing of the way people were thinking worldwide at the end of the Cold War. The year they wrote this, 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down along with invisible walls between people in general. That was a major change for Germany as well as major event in history worldwide.


Zombie by the Cranberries: If you had to choose between listening to any of these songs, then you should listen to this one because it’s pretty good. This one still has to do with war, but it’s about The Irish Republican Army (IRA), a militant group that had been fighting the occupation of British troops from Ireland for what seemed like forever. They killed two children in a bombing and that inspired this song. A few weeks after this song was released, the IRA declared a ceasefire after 25 years of conflict. Besides the good intentions of this song, it’s actually a good song that’s a bit heavier than the other two.