Krautrock > electronic experimental > electro-pop band from Düsseldorf, Germany, formed in 1970.

Formerly known as Organisation, Kraftwerk debuted live as the trio of Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben and Charly Weiss at the Tivoli Popfestival, Aachen on 11 July 1970. Klaus Dinger took over as drummer after that. Gigs between 26 December 1970 and 31 July 1971 omitted Hütter, with various line-ups including Michael Rother and others. After a gig in the Weserberglands of Germany on 31 July 1971, Dinger & Rother then split-off forming Neu!. Shortly after, Hütter returned. First known Hütter/Schneider gig is 22 November 1971 at the Sachsenwald Gymansium, Hamburg, which instigated the partnership that developed into the well-known electro pop band continuing for decades with an expanded line-up after the hit single Autobahn.

Current members:
Ralf Hütter (July 1970 to December 1970, September 1971-) Lead Vocals, Vocoder, Synthesizers, Keyboards, Organ, Drums and Percussion, Guitar, Bass Guitar
Henning Schmitz (1987-) Electronic Percussion (1987–) Sound Engineering
Fritz Hilpert (1987-) Electronic Percussion, Sound Engineering
Falk Grieffenhagen (2013-) Video Technician

Former Members:
Karl Bartos (1974-1991) Electronic Percussion
Klaus Dinger (1970-1971) Drum
Wolfgang Flür (1973-1987) Electronic Percussion
Andreas Hohmann (1970) Drum
Eberhard Kranemann (1970-1971) Bass Guitar
Thomas Lohmann (1970) Drum
Housch?ng Néjadepour (1970-1971) Electric Guitar
Michael Rother (1971) Electric Guitar
Florian Schneider-Esleben (1970-2008)
Charly Weiss (1970) Drums
Plato Kostic (a.k.a. Plato Riviera) (1970) Bass Guitar
Peter Schmidt (1970) Drums
Emil Schult (1973) Electric guitar, Electronic violin
Klaus R?der (1974) Electric guitar, Electronic violin
Fernando Abrantes (1991) Electronic Percussion, Synthesizer
Stefan Pfaffe (2008-2012) Video Technician

Maxime Schmitt has been a close friend of the group as well as an advisor and collaborator.
Emil Schult has also collaborated on many releases, contributing both lyrics and graphics.

Discogs attributes 22 albums and 24 compilations as releases by Kraftwerk since the band formed in 1970. Of these, seven have appeared in the ‘UK Top 40’ music charts with 2 of them reaching the ‘Top 10’ but no albums have reached the No.1 position in the UK. The albums to hit the Top 10 are ‘Autobahn’ and ‘Kraftwerk - Die Mensch·Maschine’ and together they have spent 7 weeks in the UK Top 10 charts. All 9 charting albums, have in total, been in the UK Chart’s for 66 weeks and within the Top 40 for 33 weeks.

Kraftwerk have had some success with some of their 49 single/EP releases. In this case, there has been a UK chart entry for 12 of these releases, with one single making the No.1 spot. In February 1982, Kraftwerk hit the singles chart ‘top spot with the (EMI 5207) release of Computer Love / The Model but only spent one week at that coveted position. The single spent 11 weeks in the chart’s 'Top 40' (6 weeks in the Top 10) and 21 weeks overall. It had two separate chart runs of 8 weeks (11/07/1981 – 29/08/1981) and 13 weeks (26/12/1981 – (20/03/1982).

The 12 Kraftwerk hit singles/EPs have spent time in the UK Top 40 music charts for 43 weeks and 79 weeks in the charts overall. The single spending the most time in the UK Charts is ‘Tour De France‘ (EMI 5413) which entered the charts in August 1983 and overall, spent 23 weeks charting at that time. The single made a brief reappearance in the UK Charts in October 1999 with the CD single (EMI 8874210) release ‘Tour De France’ but for only 2 weeks and this did not score as a Top 40 hit.

The first single to chart for Kraftwerk was ‘Autobahn’ (Vertigo 6147012) on 10/05/1975 and it remained in the UK charts for 9 weeks achieving a high position of no.11. Similarly, Kraftwerk’s first album to chart was also entitled ‘Autobahn’. The album spent 21 weeks in the UK Chart achieving its highest position of no.4 in its fourth week. [Source: Official Charts Company (UK) (April 2020)].


6305 058 Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk album art Kraftwerk Kraftwerk (Album) Philips 6305 058 Germany 1970 Sell This Version
6305 117 Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk 2 album art Kraftwerk Kraftwerk 2 (Album) Philips 6305 117 Germany 1972 Sell This Version
6305 197 Kraftwerk - Ralf & Florian album art Kraftwerk Ralf & Florian (Album) Philips 6305 197 Germany 1973 Sell This Version
VEL-2003 Kraftwerk - Autobahn album art Kraftwerk Autobahn (Album) Philips VEL-2003 US 1974 Sell This Version
1C 244-82 087, 1C 244-82 087 Kraftwerk - Radio-Aktivit?t album art Kraftwerk Radio-Aktivit?t (Album) Kling Klang, H?R ZU, EMI Electrola 1C 244-82 087, 1C 244-82 087 Germany 1975 Sell This Version
RL 34-5 Kraftwerk - Styx II / Autobahn album art Styx / Kraftwerk Styx / Kraftwerk - Styx II / Autobahn(LP, Transcription) AFRTS RL 34-5 US 1975 Sell This Version
RL 10-6 Kraftwerk - Ralf And Florian / Atlantic Crossing album art Kraftwerk / Rod Stewart Kraftwerk / Rod Stewart - Ralf And Florian / Atlantic Crossing(LP, Transcription) AFRTS RL 10-6 US 1975 Sell This Version
ZR25-384, 4XW-11603 Kraftwerk - Trans Europa Express album art Kraftwerk Trans Europa Express (Album) Kling Klang, Kling Klang, EMI Electrola, EMI Electrola ZR25-384, 4XW-11603 Japan 1977 Sell This Version
2S 068-85444, 2S 068-85.444 Kraftwerk - Die Mensch·Maschine album art Kraftwerk Die Mensch·Maschine (Album) Kling Klang, Kling Klang, EMI Electrola 2S 068-85444, 2S 068-85.444 France 1978 Sell This Version
RL 21-8 Kraftwerk - The Man Machine / Future Bound album art Kraftwerk / Tavares Kraftwerk / Tavares - The Man Machine / Future Bound(LP, Transcription) AFRTS, United States Department Of Defense RL 21-8 US 1978 Sell This Version
1C 264-46 311 Kraftwerk - Computerwelt album art Kraftwerk Computerwelt (Album) Kling Klang, EMI Electrola 1C 264-46 311 Germany 1981 Sell This Version
RL 25-1 Kraftwerk - Computerworld / Come And Get It album art Kraftwerk / Whitesnake Kraftwerk / Whitesnake - Computerworld / Come And Get It(LP, Transcription) AFRTS, United States Department Of Defense RL 25-1 US 1981 Sell This Version
54 2406441 Kraftwerk - Electric Cafe album art Kraftwerk Electric Cafe (Album) Kling Klang, EMI, EMI, EMI 54 2406441 Italy 1986 Sell This Version
CDPP 568 Kraftwerk - The Mix album art Kraftwerk The Mix (Album) Kling Klang, Electrola CDPP 568 Netherlands 1991 Sell This Version
TCD 1112, TCD1112 Kraftwerk - Man Machine - The Story Of Kraftwerk album art Kraftwerk Man Machine - The Story Of Kraftwerk(CD, Transcription) BBC Radio International, BBC World Service TCD 1112, TCD1112 UK 1996 Sell This Version
591 710 2 Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks album art Kraftwerk Tour De France Soundtracks (Album) EMI, EMI 591 710 2 Brazil 2003 Sell This Version
0946 3 36294 9 3 Kraftwerk - Minimum-Maximum album art Kraftwerk Minimum-Maximum (Album) EMI 0946 3 36294 9 3 Mexico 2005 Sell This Version
0190295924973 Kraftwerk - 3-D (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8) album art Kraftwerk 3-D (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8) (Album) Parlophone, Kling Klang 0190295924973 USA & Europe 2017 Sell This Version
0190295923518 Kraftwerk - 3-D (Der Katalog) album art Kraftwerk 3-D (Der Katalog) (Album) Kling Klang, Parlophone 0190295923518 Europe 2016 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

GB 2.7 Kraftwerk - Ruckzuck album art Kraftwerk Ruckzuck (Single) Philips GB 2.7 South Africa 1970 Sell This Version
none Kraftwerk - Ralf & Florian album art Kraftwerk Ralf & Florian Philips none 1973 Sell This Version
6003 356 Kraftwerk - Kohoutek - Kometenmelodie album art Kraftwerk Kohoutek - Kometenmelodie (Single) Philips 6003 356 Germany 1973 Sell This Version
7461 001 Kraftwerk - Mitternacht / Morgenspaziergang / Kometenmelodie album art Kraftwerk Mitternacht / Morgenspaziergang / Kometenmelodie (EP, Single) Philips 7461 001 Germany 1974 Sell This Version
VE-DJ-9, VE-203 Kraftwerk - Autobahn album art Kraftwerk Autobahn (Single) Philips VE-DJ-9, VE-203 US 1974 Sell This Version
Kling-Klang Verlag GmbH Kraftwerk - Mitternacht album art Kraftwerk Mitternacht(Acetate, 10", Mono) Philips Kling-Klang Verlag GmbH 1974 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 57 Reviews

Add Review



May 8, 2020
What a sad thing to hear. Electronic music was never the same after these guys came onto the scene, and Schneider was such a driving force in making music better. I hate that he is no longer with us, but his wonderful music will be with us forever.


May 6, 2020
all these musicians leaving us its saddening while I was growing up with passion for electronic music so many artists and music producers of music I enjoyed have gone life is cruel R.I.P


May 6, 2020
Rest easy, lieber roboter....

A huge loss and a sad day....


May 6, 2020
The Whole Electronic Music Community should know of Kraftwerk. Today is a sad day. RIP Florian Schneider.


May 6, 2020
edited about 1 year ago
R.I.P. Florian Schneider Schneider a true genius and the king of the vocoder.
..good trip Florian, on the highway to paradise


May 6, 2020
Sad to hear the passing of the Legendary Florian Schneider.. innovator, producer..R.I.P...


December 20, 2019
Those "anonymous interchangeable stooges" Henning Schmitz and Fritz Hilpert have now been in the band TWICE as long as Karl Bartos was.


April 26, 2019
They invented techno ... does anything more need to be said ? ...


February 8, 2019
edited over 2 years ago
All things new and to certain measure extreme Kraftwerk ever did musically speaking or else purveryoring technology as a mean to composition , there is something even more fundamental implicated with their foundation. They were the messengers of a zeitgeist.
In the German context they represent the new post war Germany, the one achieved by total and literal deconstructionism, the one inmolated in rapid growth for progress, dedicated, souless, individualistic, productive, relativistic, cynical to a great measure.

For me it's rather interesting that German director Werner Fassbinder included Kraftwerk as part of the soundtrack for the adaptation of Alfred D?blin's Berlin Alexanderplatz back in the 70s. It's a gesture not exempt from political implications.

In the world context Kraftwerk is the angel trumpet announcing the beginning of a new glorious era, the triumph from liberal democracy and capitalism. Again. Unlimited progress, individualism but also the advent of a more veiled accent borderline with dystopia and apocalypse. All Kraftwerk epic tracks, unforgettable now in world culture are strongly political statements with intelligent display for mere entertainment.

Take for example "Autobahn". It depicts the progress dream envisioned by prewar Germany (both Volkswagen and autobahn were envisioned by Nazis) only now contextualized in different terms, the ones from post modernism and democratic capitalism. The lyrics are cyclic and somehow its repetition gives the indication of something unaccomplished

"Jetzt schalten wir ja das Radio an
Aus dem Lautsprecher klingt es dann:
Wir fah'rn auf der Autobahn" And it does start again...
The task seems endless but the mission is complete. The endless drive of progress...
A similar statement is veiled in Europe endl?ss. A view that doesn't contain any limit and thus a place the individual is rather insignificant and apparent, such a mount of veiled solitude is alluded.

Radioaktivit?t is an obvious reference to the cold War but the most sinister undertone comes from the anticipation of nuclear disasters such as Tchernobyl or Fukushima and not just the menace of atomic war. "Its in the air for you and me... ".
And continues to be! Perhaps everyday more than before now.

The robots and Computerwelt, is it anything more obvious? In the original context from 1970s Germany is rather ubiquitous the presence of this robotic and souless world, human beings who act and live devoid of any meaning other than accomplishing the task of robots. The Kraftwerk performance of this track is absolutely explicit.
In the world of today this is our daily life. People spending half of their days and nights watching all kind of screens, computing, living automatically, frantically masturbating with multitasking, losing ground with anything that is not demarked by the function of the task itself.
"We are the robots".

Das model, been one of the most melodic of the tracks they ever made. It is so stylish and glamorous, just as the lyrics, yet, once again, symptoms of our times and the politics of reality appear.
This chick who is only reanimated by the flashlight or the attention from many men, who lives for her image and thus her appearance and seems to be an impossible "object" for the narrator is both the age of extreme narcissism we live today and the absolute dedication of been recognized by the exterior, social media anyone?
"It only takes a camera to change her mind"

Kraftwerk is contradictory. An envelope of automatic rhythms and simple notes, almost frivolous at times it seems... But never forget they are Germans.
True art is ambiguous and even apparent.
Pop for another 1000 years of culture, maybe a lot less than that...


February 4, 2018
Kraut rock, garage eletronic, ambient, electro (founders of the genre I would say) and synth pop and probably a few more styles. The precursor of the precursor. Legendary and untouchable. Amazing that these guys invented this sound so long ago and it still hasn't been been duplicated. I bow humbly to thee.

Lists Add to List

? by diskono
View More Lists →

Videos (121) Edit