Personalities | Can | Seventies | Rock

(Vocal group, 1969–79)

An experimental German outfit, Can were significantly influential on both rock and dance music. The band was founded by students of avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen: Holger Czukay (bass) and Irmin Schmidt (keyboards), with Michael Karoli (guitar), Jaki Liebezeit (drums) and, briefly, David Johnson (flute). American singer Malcolm Mooney joined for Can’s debut album Monster Movie (1969), which showcased the band’s lengthy, hypnotic improvisations, underpinned by cyclical, repetitive drumming.

Mooney left in 1971 and the band recorded three albums with his replacement, Japanese singer Kenji ‘Damo’ Suzuki, Tago Mago (1971), Ege Bamyasi (1972) and Future Days (1973), which edged towards ambient music. Can established a significant following in Britain and in 1976, achieved a minor hit with ‘I Want More’ by which time Suzuki had departed leaving Schmidt and Karoli to share vocals. The recruitment of less sympathetic musicians had a deleterious effect on Can’s music hastening 1979’s split.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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