Trans Europa Express (1977)
Kraftwerk (German pronunciation: [ˈkʀaftvɛɐk], "power station") are a German electronic music band formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1969 in Düsseldorf. In the 1970s, they were among the first successful pop acts to popularize electronic music and are widely considered to be innovators and pioneers of the genre. The band was fronted by both Hütter and Schneider until Schneider’s departure in 2008.
Kraftwerk began as part of Germany’s krautrock scene in the early 1970s, releasing three albums in an experimental rock style before embracing electronic instrumentation, including synthesizers, drum machines, vocoders, and self-made instruments, in the middle of the decade. On commercially successful albums such as Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977), and The Man-Machine (1978), they developed a distinctive style of so-called "robot pop" that combined electronic music with pop melodies, sparse arrangements, and repetitive rhythms, while adopting a stylized image which often employed matching suits. Following the releases of Computer World (1981) and Electric Café (1986), member Wolfgang Flür left the group in 1987. Their last album Tour de France Soundtracks was released in 2003. Founding member Schneider departed in 2008.
Kraftwerk have exerted a lasting and profound influence across many genres of modern music, including synthpop, hip hop, ambient, post-punk, techno, and club music, and have inspired a wide and diverse range of artists. According to The Observer, "no other band since the Beatles has given so much to pop culture." In January 2014, the Recording Academy honored Kraftwerk with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. As of 2016, the remaining members of Kraftwerk continue to tour.