Personalities | Kraftwerk | Seventies | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1970–present)

This German electronic group’s pioneering use of synthesizers made them one of the all-time most influential bands. Co-founders Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter set up Kling Klang Studio in Düsseldorf in 1970, where the pair made three albums. They were augmented by electronic percussionists Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos on a tour to promote the band’s fourth album Autobahn (1974), completing Kraftwerk’s classic line-up. Autobahn brought the group to an international audience when the title track became a Top 30 hit in Britain and America in 1975.

The three albums that followed, Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977) and The Man Machine (1978) were to alter the course of popular music, highlighting the possibilities of the synthesizer as a lead instrument. Live performances played up the mechanical angle, using life-size robot replicas of the band members. Kraftwerk continue to release albums, albeit with increasingly long gaps.

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


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