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 30 July 1971 omitted Hütter, with various line-ups including Michael Rother and others. Dinger & Rother then split-off forming Neu!. First known Hütter/Schneider gig is 2 February 1972 at the Fabrik, Altona, 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.
Ralf Hütter (July 1970 to December 1970, January 1972-) 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
Karl Bartos (1975-1991) 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
Houschäng 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 Röder (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)).