Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider Dead At 73

Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider has died at 73, as Billboard confirms.

Schneider started the pioneering electronic group with Ralf Hütter, who he met while they were classical music students at the Dusseldorf Conservatory. Their project together was originally called Organisation, but they soon renamed themselves Kraftwerk, German for “power station.” Schneider was an innovator, designing his own rhythm machines and synthesizers. David Bowie, who was heavily inspired by Kraftwerk, named an song on “Heroes” after Schneider, “V-2 Schneider.”

The group’s first albums were 1970’s Kraftwerk, 1972’s Kraftwerk 2, and 1973’s Ralf und Florian, which would lead into a stellar and highly influential run of albums in the mid-70s that included 1974’s Autobahn, 1975’s Radio-Activity, 1977’s Trans-Europe Express, and 1978’s The Man-Machine. They would disappear sporadically after that, re-emerging with new music only a handful of times, with 1981’s Computer World and 1986’s Electric Café. They leaned into their reputation for mind-bending live shows, becoming a formidable touring act that traveled the world.

Schneider left the group in 2008, and his last live performance with the band was in 2006. Kraftwerk has been nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame six times, most recently last fall, though they have not been inducted.

Revisit our essential Krautrock playlist.