How David Bowie Inspired Kraftwerk
via Jozin / Youtube
During David Bowie’s time in Berlin, he and producer Brian Eno typically took control at the soundboard as Bowie quietly faded into the background. Even while most listeners were struck in wonder after hearing Bowie’s recordings like “Low” and “Heroes,” one of his great muses was also paying close attention.
Kraftwerk were busy dismantling the rules of music while Bowie was busy attempting to sound like a blue-eyed soul singer on Young Americans. Albums like Autobahn went outside the norms of rock and roll by replacing the blaring guitars with eerie synthesizers and noises that gave the impression that the records were produced by real robots.
Bowie told Uncut, “What I was passionate about in relation to Kraftwerk was their singular determination to stand apart from stereotypical American chord sequences and their wholehearted embrace of a European sensibility displayed through their music. This was their very important influence on me.” This aesthetic is what inspired Bowie to explore beyond the humanistic side of rock and roll, thanks to the profound impact they had on the singer.
But the inspiration came in two-way when Kraftwerk took inspiration from the English musician. While recording their album Trans-Europe Express, the band included a hidden reference to Bowie and fellow rocker Iggy Pop for their krautrock influences in the album’s title track as an Easter egg for fans. The titular song’s distinctive style recalls David Bowie’s as if the band was attempting to add some rock and roll rebellion to their signature robotic songwriting style.
Check out the song below.