Heard on CultureShift

These Kraftwerk Tracks Changed Music — and Detroit — History

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Image credit: Flicker user Jon Fisher / Creative Commons

Kraftwerk, the influential German electronic group, has been compared to The Beatles in it’s affect on music history. Hear three tracks that the group wrote or inspired, from Düsseldorf to Detroit.

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Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider died on April 30 at the age of 73.  

The group was one of the most influential musical acts of the last century. The British music juggernaut New Music Express compared the group to the The Beatles, calling them one of the “two most important bands in music history.” 

Kraftwerk would end up having a huge influence on musicians from David Bowie to New Order to Daft Punk and The Belleville Three in Detroit. 

Formed in 1970 in Düsseldorf, Germany by Ralf Hütter and Schneider, Kraftwerk released a handful of brilliant records into the 1980’s. 

After three experimental records, the group moved to a sound that combined their electronic sound with pop music sensibilities, beginning to popularize electronic-based music. This would end up having a huge influence on musicians from David Bowie to New Order to Daft Punk and The Belleville Three in Detroit. 

Click on the player above to hear Modern Music’ Jon Moshier on the influential history of Kraftwerk, and hear three consequential tracks the group wrote or influenced below. 

Autobahn” by Kraftwerk (1974)

Planet Rock” by Africa Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force (1982)

One of their most notable records was “Trans Europe Express,” released in 1977, which became a seminal album influencing a generation of musicians. In 1982, Africa Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force sampled a track from the album in “Planet Rock,” which became an influential track in hip-hop and electro.  

Clear” by Cybotron (1983)

Also from “Trans Europe Express,” the track “Hall of Mirrors” as well as the track “Numbers” from Kraftwerk’s 1981 record “Computer World” was sampled in 1983 by Detroit’s own Juan Atkins on the Cybotron track “Clear,” which would help usher in the techno revolution that Detroit would become known for.

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Jon Moshier, Host, Modern Music

Jon Moshier is host of Modern Music. Always with an ear to the underground, Moshier presents the best in new music and emerging artists each week.


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