Early Kraftwerk @ YouTube
February 16, 2008 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Early Kraftwerk @ YouTube, from when they still had long hair—Ruckzuck live on WDR TV in 1970; Truckstop Gondolero (aka Rückstossgondoliere), a 1971 performance where the line-up is Florian with Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother, later of NEU!; Heavy Metal Kids (audio only), also from 1971; and a lovely version of Tanzmusik (1973).

The band are more recognisable in a snippet from Autobahn, as feautured in the British pop-science TV show Tomorrow’s World in 1975. Bonus tracks: Silver Forest by Ralf & Florian’s pre-Kraftwerk outfit Organisation; and Organisation’s rendition of Ruckzuck. Also, a tantalisingly brief clip of NEU! playing an early version of their song Hero, in 1974.
posted by misteraitch (22 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
beautiful. i can still remember the first time i heard Kraftwerk--in the mid 90s, driving home from my high school job. our local NPR station played Autobahn in its entirety and i've been a huge fan ever since. think i'm going to see these guys at coachella this year. can't wait.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:18 AM on February 16, 2008

Merely one of the greatest bands of all time. Still tremendous, too - 2006's Minimum-Maximum is stunning.
OMG, Kraftwerk, Neu!, Harmonia, Cluster... all this stuff has ruled my life for 15 years
posted by porn in the woods at 9:23 AM on February 16, 2008

Danke sehr sehr schoen! I remember first hearing "Pocket Calculator" when I was 10 or so, then picking up on them as I got older through MTV ("The Model") and what cassettes I could find (Autobahn was the earliest I had). So the first time I heard "early" Kraftwerk, way, way later, I was amazed that they were the same band. So, thanks for the links to the cool music!

However, I must add that, apart from one of the guys looking like Will Forte from SNL, watching videos of them playing their music is kinda boring. I have it playing in another tab.

Metafilter: come for the videos, stay for the soundtracks, or something like that.
posted by not_on_display at 9:45 AM on February 16, 2008

Oh damn, now you got me sidetracked to youtubing Neu! and Can videos I'd never even thought to look up before. (Like, where Stereolab got all their ideas from for a while.)

Damn you Mr. H! I have housework to do!

posted by not_on_display at 9:54 AM on February 16, 2008

Their 2004 show in Toronto was easily one of the best musical experiences of my life. I was awed by the sheer precision of it all. Every moment seemed completely designed, dignified and mature, which turned out to be far more thrilling than 55 year old men trying to look and act 25.
posted by davebush at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2008

and don't forget Bill Baily's tribute to Kraftwerk.
posted by Grod at 10:08 AM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well youtube, Tomorrows world and Kraftwerk filled up my morning...
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on February 16, 2008

I like this Tomorrows World appearance best. Did they basically just show up on Tomorrows World for every single?
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on February 16, 2008

Great post, vielen Dank.
posted by El Brendano at 12:11 PM on February 16, 2008

The Ruckzuck videos here are different from the standard synth-dominated album version, because of the flute, but you might recognize the album version, because it was used as the theme for Newton's Apple on PBS.
posted by jonp72 at 12:21 PM on February 16, 2008

Actually, here's the Newton's Apple intro. I guess it has more flute than I remember, but it's overshadowed by the synth.
posted by jonp72 at 12:23 PM on February 16, 2008

Great post. Kraftwerk's early stuff was good, but it's impossible to find outside of bootlegs now as it's so different from their early stuff and they seem to be kind of embarrassed about it (it's "not representative", they say). For people mentioning Autobahn and Pocket Calculator and so forth, this is totally different - they were pretty much a straight-up Krautrock band and didn't even use synthesizers except sparingly on the later early stuff like the Ralf und Florian album.

I'm a huge fan, and have pretty much everything they've released in English and German versions (at least the albums they released in both languages, which is everything between Radioactivity and Electric Cafe). It's said that fans who speak German prefer the English versions and vice-versa, probably because the lyrics are pretty weak.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:26 PM on February 16, 2008

I'm sure there was a kids drama series back in the late 70s about a gymnastics club on the BBC that used a bit of Autobahn for the theme-tune but I can't seem to track it down.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:40 PM on February 16, 2008

Bill Bailey's tribute, as pointed to by Grod above, is indeed a fine and very moving tribute.
posted by kaemaril at 12:46 PM on February 16, 2008

Wow. I was illuminated by Radioaktivität one interminable Düsseldorf afternoon when I was nine. I never knew about these prequels. Thx Mr. H.
posted by progosk at 12:51 PM on February 16, 2008

Oh and my favourite tributes are Señor Coconut's.
posted by progosk at 1:01 PM on February 16, 2008

Gorgeous. I still love them to pieces.
posted by mykescipark at 1:38 PM on February 16, 2008

Thanks for this post. I grew up with Kraftwerk, listening to Autobahn while driving around with my father, right now I'm rediscovering their music...

If you want to dive into Krautrock now I'd recommend the last three episodes of the fantastic Überklang podcast: Krautrock Electronica - Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Popol Vuh and much more -Krautrock Vol.2 Trance & Ekstase mit Can, Faust, Amon Düül2, No Zen Orchestra and Krautrock Vol.3: Supergroups, about jam sessions and collaborations.
(Moderation is in german, but not too long not to be enjoyed even if you can't speek the language)
posted by kolophon at 3:09 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

One of many bands who can be said to be definitively influential.
posted by juiceCake at 3:52 PM on February 16, 2008

Great post. Love Kraftwerk's electronic stuff, but the early kraut style was also great.

Also, after Ralf and Florian split Organisation to form Kraftwerk, the other half of Organisation released another great kraut style album as Ibliss (album called Supernova); it never received a reissue, but has shown up on the blogosphere once or twice. WFMU posted one good Ibliss track from the album - High Life.
posted by p3t3 at 8:08 PM on February 16, 2008

Brilliant stuff. Thanks.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 2:19 AM on February 17, 2008

I've loved them since I first heard them - I think someone played "Computer Love" for me, thinking it as a joke, and I immediately sought out every album I could find. I finally got to see them last year when they toured, and the performance was amazing - the way they've freshened their sound with better equipment while maintaining the retro-timeless feel of the music is great. I'm looking forward to Coachella. Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!
posted by FatherDagon at 8:43 AM on February 20, 2008

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