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Trivia / Kraftwerk

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  • Approval of God: Played straight and inverted.
    • The main riff from "Computer Love" was used in Coldplay's song Talk, which Hütter, as Coldplay puts it, appreciated them asking his permission, "unlike that bastard Jay-Z".
    • Florian Schneider thought that Señor Coconut's (an alias for German electronic musician Uwe Schmidt) El Baile Alemán, an album which covered Kraftwerk songs in a Latin style, was Actually Pretty Funny. They only had a problem with the "Radioactivity" cover, mostly because of the Lyrical Dissonance.
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  • Banned In China: They weren't allowed to tour in China due to supporting the "Free Tibet" movement.
  • Big Name Fan: Sir Mix-a-Lot, Afrika Bambaataa, Dr. Dre, Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris of Joy Division (as well as New Order in Morris' case), Richard D. James, Ryuichi Sakamoto (of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame) etc. have cited them as one of their favorite bands. Honestly, it's easier to name musicians who aren't fans. In addition, reportedly Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo was disappointed when he heard Kraftwerk's music for the first time, because he wanted to release electronized music first.
  • Development Hell: Kraftwerk has been teasing a new album since 2003. While long absences aren't uncommon for the band (for instance after 1991's The Mix they basically went missing for nearly a decade), the fact that in the time since their last album, founding member Florian Schneider both quit and died leaves this new album's fate uncertain, as much as Ralf Hütter insists it's coming year after year.
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  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: All pre-Autobahn material has been disowned as "prehistoric". Thus, their career-spanning boxed set contains all complete albums except the first four, which have never officially been released on CD, despite Hütter's suggestions that they may someday. That isn't to say that CD versions aren't common — a German outfit called Crown Records released superb, vinyl-dubbed CD's of the first four, Tone Float included (and re-credited to Kraftwerk).
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Downplayed, while Kraftwerk have never claimed The Mix, their album of remixes of their best-known songs, as their Magnum Opus, theynote  did think it was a good idea, and it receives the same esteem from the band as albums like The Man Machine and Computer World do, to the point that, in concert, they play the remixed versions of the songs who appeared on said album as opposed to their original versions. Contrast that with the fans' reception of The Mix, which can range from unimpressed to outright vitriolic.
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  • Old Shame: Ralf Hütter has disowned their first three albums as "prehistoric", and thus they will never be legally reprinted, although it seems that Hütter might have hinted that they might be restored and made available sometime after they release another studio album.
  • One-Hit Wonder: In the United States, they only have one Top 40 hit: A severely edited version of their 22-minute opus "Autobahn".
  • Reclusive Artist: They rarely give interviews. They usually use dummies or custom-made robots for promo photo shoots instead of themselves. All we know about their studio is its name and the address in Düsseldorf where it used to be. They are also extremely hard to contact. For example, their studio telephone didn't have a ringer because they considered it "noise pollution" during recording. If you really wanted to contact them they would instruct you to call precisely at a certain time, and Ralf Hütter would answer the call himself even though there was no phone ring. Allegedly, when Chris Martin contacted them (through their lawyers) to request permission to sample "Computer Love" for the Coldplay song "Talk," they responded by mailing him a piece of yellow legal paper with nothing but the word "Yes" written on it.
  • Referenced by...:
    • A recurring comedy sketch on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson called "Einen Moment mit Kraftwerk" has Florian (played by Craig) and Ralf (played by Josh Robert Thompson) engaging in brief, very weird conversations.
    • Bill Bailey, a self-professed fan of Kraftwerk, has parodied the group on several occasions.
    • Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! had "Mini-Van Highway," a Kraftwerk-esque ditty played by two middle-aged men on the finest DOS computers — eventually joined by a hilariously stoic fellow on synthesized vocals.
    • Ian Curtis of Joy Division insisted on playing "Trans-Europe Express" every time before they went on stage.
    • Afrika Bambaataa sampled portions of "Trans-Europe Express" in his revolutionizing hit song "Planet Rock".
    • Halo referenced the album The Man-Machine in High Charity: Pursuit of Truth, possibly sampling them (e.g. the beat and the characteristic "twang" sound effect).
    • "The Model" was covered by Big Black on their album Songs About Fucking (1987).
    • The riff of "Computer Love" was sampled by Coldplay on their song "Talk" from their album "X&Y".
    • The Big Lebowski has the Fake Band Autobahn, an Affectionate Parody of Kraftwerk named after their best known album. The cover of Nagelbett (Bed of Nails) is a parody of the cover for The Man-Machine.
    • The Saturday Night Live sketch "Sprockets" used a sped upnote  version of "Electric Café"'s "chorus" melody.
    • Several movies and TV series directly used songs from the group as their themes, making them examples of Real Song Theme Tune:
      • For its initial 1983-1990 run, the PBS Edutainment show Newton's Apple used "Ruckzuck" (from their long-disowned debut album) as its theme (it was replaced for the home soundtrack due to licensing issues).
      • The Hong Kong/Taiwanese film Master of the Flying Guillotine uses "Kometenmelodie", "Mitternacht" and "Morgenspaziergang" off of the Autobahn album as most of its Background Music.
      • "Trans-Europe Express" was used in a Godfrey Ho Ninja Movie called Ninja Champion, best known for being reviewed in The Cinema Snob.
      • "Computer World" was used as the theme song of the BBC educational TV show The Computer Programme (1982).
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