30 Songs In 30 Days – Day 8

Day 8 – A Song You Know All The Words To

Das Altbierlied – Die Toten Hosen

This is a category with literally hundreds of possibilities.  So I thought I would show off and choose one that isn’t in English!

It is a semi-traditional drinking song from the city of Düsseldorf.  That is the area where my early visits to Germany took me, and where I did my year in Germany as part of my degree course.  The city we studied in, Wuppertal, was nice enough but did not have a whole lot going on; thankfully Düsseldorf was only a 20 minute train ride away so that was where we went for shopping, entertainment, nights out and generally hanging out.  The song celebrates two things – firstly the local brew “Altbier”, of which the city is very proud, and secondly the old town, which is fondly referred to as “the world’s longest bar” due to the staggering number of pubs, clubs, breweries etc. to be found there.  It was the scene of many a good night during my student days, the kind where you would go home on the first train the next morning, not the last train of the night!

There are numerous versions of the song that have been recorded, but the one I picked here is by Düsseldorf’s most famous musical sons, punk/rock band Die Toten Hosen (and for those of you with a modicum of German, yes it does literally mean The Dead Trousers).  They have performed it live as an encore for many years.  But the reason I first learned the song (it was the first German song I did know all the words to, fittingly for today’s category) is that it is sung by the fans of Düsseldorf’s ice hockey team (traditionally called DEG, now known as DEG Metro Stars), my second team after my beloved Nottingham Panthers.  A rousing rendition by the entire crowd is the precursor to all home games and, particularly in their characterful old stadium, created a fantastic atmosphere.  In fact, I will include a clip of that as well, so you can see and hear what I mean!

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