Does Kraftwerk Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?


Does Kraftwerk belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

That’s the question raised by the announcement of this year’s nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Kraftwerk is nominated, along with nominees that many people may find a lot more rock and roll – groups like Depeche ModeE.L.O, Journey, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, The Cars and Yes

Nominees for induction in 2017 are:

  • Bad Brains
  • Chaka Khan
  • Chic
  • Depeche Mode
  • Electric Light Orchestra
  • J. Geils Band
  • Jane’s Addiction
  • Janet Jackson
  • Joan Baez
  • Joe Tex
  • Journey
  • Kraftwerk
  • MC5
  • Pearl Jam
  • Steppenwolf
  • The Cars
  • The Zombies
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Yes

To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2017 Nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1991.

Ballots will be sent to an international voting body of more than 800 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame offers fans an opportunity to participate in the induction selection process. Through December 5, 2016, fans can visit to cast votes for who they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The top five artists, as selected by the public, will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2017 inductees.

What do you think? Does Kraftwerk belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? Or is calling them a rock band stretching the definition of ‘rock’ to the point of being meaningless?

48 thoughts on “Does Kraftwerk Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

  1. it depends how “rock n’roll” is defined. It it’s electric guitars, live drums and screaming cats, then no. If by “rock n’roll” one means all sorts of pop music, then yes. As far as I’m concerned, I’d stick to my guns and would put Kraftwerk in the Electronic Music hall of fame. If it exists.

      1. DM does feature guitars regularly and drums (while heavily processed in the studio) were also regularly featured (certainly live). Dave doesn’t really scream though…

        The Cars have all that stuff minus the screaming…

        Eh, fair game to both. I’d definitely like to see them both recognized.

  2. Unfortunately, the Rock and Roll hall of fame has an “inclusive” definition of “rock and roll”, so any popular music is ripe for induction, regardless of genre. I wish they would just change the name of the institution to reflect this direction.

    1. Not to mention Donna Summer. ABBA, The Jackson 5, The Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, James Taylor as well as numerous others. All these inductees are talented but far from “Rock n Roll”. Therefore, it is well past time to recognize electronic music and Kraftwerk is excellent choice. While they are at it, rename it the Music Hall of Fame.

  3. well I thought their whole ethos was to reject & subvert the ” American Rock ‘n’ Roll ” musical vocabulary.
    So if approved by the judges it will be interesting to see how they respond.

    They could reject the offer in keeping with their original ethos , or accept it as a subversion of the Rock’n’Roll legacy .. maybe appear in ripped jeans, sleeveless shirts & bandanas as a further irony … maybe Springsteen could join them for ” We are the Robots “

  4. Look at that ridiculous list: MC5??? …nominees for 2017???

    Where’s Todd Rundgren… a WIZARD, a TRUE star!?

    Do we have to care about the f*cking Rock & Roll hall of Shame on Synthopia?

  5. Some time during the 70’s they were more rock ‘n’ roll than anyone else, if one interprets rock ‘n’ roll as non-conformist, exciting and original.

  6. First, Kraftwerk is in the category of “Kraut-Rock”… then, they are making electronic music. Have you guys ever heard their early ablums? it’s totally german psychedelic rock

  7. No. They should devote the entire ceremony to Bad Brains. Or maybe Bad Brains and Joan Baez duets.

    (That the MC5 and Joan Baez are not already in there pretty much says it all)

  8. Posted in very large type on their “Induction Process” page:

    Rock & roll is not an instrument; rock & roll is not even a style of music. Rock & roll is a spirit. … It’s been going since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, R&B, rock & roll, heavy metal, punk rock and, yes, hip-hop. And what connects us all is that spirit. …Rock & roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and in life.

  9. Kraftwerk > The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    I like Simon Reynolds take on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his book Retromania.

    “In an interview for National Public Radio, Pistols guitarist Steve Jones claimed that ‘once you want to be put into a museum, rock and roll’s over’.
    Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which Bands become eligible for twenty-five years after they formed, is a last rite of passage into the rock afterlife. In some cases, the artist is literally dead; in almost all other instances, the creative life of the performer expired a good way back. Theodor Adorno was the first to point out the similarity of the words ‘museum’ and ‘mausoleum’. Beyond the phonetic resemblance is a deeper proximity: museums are the final resting place of ‘objects to which the observer no longer has a vital relationship and which are in the process of dying’.”.

    1. arent 2 of the original 4 dead? And Florian doesn’t even perform with them live anymore. Rolf Hütter is the only original member left I believe.

      1. Rapt, Florian, Wolfgang and Karl are all very much alive.

        Of the current lineup, Fritz Hilpert and Henning Schmitz have been around for a long time, and both are talented, worthy members. Stefan Pfaffe is the video engineer, and is arguably also integral to Kraftwek’s current “live multimedia” product.

  10. Mc5 are the greatest, still are, and are real rock n roll nothing what so ever to do with pop music it was counter culture. What did they have to do with electronic music? Try 8 hour full energy rock n roll sets pumped up with liquid lsd with twist of avant garde, real revolution psychedelia dance fests, they also where one of the first groups to hold outdoor free unautherised festivles (1966-7). Both the five and bad brains are some of the most authentic energetic original anti establishment t band to come out and I put kraftwerk in as anti pop music, unique and amazing, all these bands should turn there backs on the rock n roll hall of fame !! Don’t destroy your legacy

  11. I feel that the Rock and Roll hall of fame is kind of an irrelevant populist joke. There are many people who should have been inducted WAY longer than half the people that have been there for many years. I have the same attitude about this as I do the grammy’s. It’s a big stupid popularity contest that is more geared to record sales and less to creative and artistic innovation.

    Big joke! People like Yes, Kraftwerk and Todd Rundgren are ABOVE AND BEYOND this stupid farce. This sort of goes along with my argument about how, for years, Rolling Stone magazine hated(hates) progressive rock. Bands like Yes, ELP and Genesis have always been reviewed poorly in that magazine.

    It’s this stupid american mentality that is : Sales=Talent…. it does not and never will. This is why modern commercial music sucks. Its not a competition, it’s an exhibition. A big F. U. to this whole institution and those who support it!

  12. Big love to synthopia community for repping Bad Brains and MC5 😉
    Also The Zombies are one of the most overlooked geniuses from the 60s.
    And Beastie Boys have made plenty of Rock’n’Roll, with their first record being 100% hardcore punk and later on expanding on the idea with “Gratitude” and “Fight For Your Right”

  13. “..Factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration..”

    By this statement alone, Kraftwerk deserves inclusion. IMHO it’s not about the music style Rock and Roll, but about the musical attitude.

    What is Rock and Roll anyway? In my book it’s Bill Haley…

  14. Bad Brains, Depeche Mode and YES: yes.
    While Kraftwerk would be great in the gift shop in front of the RRHOF to play some of their latest MUZAK there.

  15. I just went to a Kraftwerk concert a month ago – they rocked! It was loud and flashy with a strong danceable backbeat. I don’t know if’s rock ‘n roll but I like it. And when you consider the generations of other musical artists who have been influenced by Kraftwerk, I think they deserve admission to the RNRHOF. It’s all a marketing ploy anyway.

  16. Being Wakeman one of the greatest keyboardist ever (guys, the Yes: every other group isn’t worth half of them; Kraftwerk are pure genius, but cannot be considered rock), I think there should be no doubt about the Yes, an exceptional progressive group.

  17. I don’t imagine they would like it. As a band they seemed quite averse to American rock… Of course their impact should be recognized but I’m not sure if they themselves would either need or appreciate it. I personally have zero interest in the Rock & Roll hall of fame… what a boring thing to be associated with.

  18. The original idea of Kraftwerk was to be an anti rocknroll band. I think they succeeded.
    To enlist them in the rocknroll hall of fame, would send the message that they failed.

  19. I think the fact that this would be contentious shows how narrow-minded and cliquish rocknroll has become.

    It’s like a great cosmic joke that Kraftwerk – who’s aim, like several other German bands of their era, was to reject the hegemonic power of American music – has stormed the gates of sanctified rocknroll.

    The metric of rocknroll, if it is to live and continue to renew itself, should be focused on music which forges a language, encourages those who are fiercely independent, seeks to rattle the foundations (the destructive power of creation!), and challenges listeners to rethink their patterned responses. That is a very apt description of Kraftwerk.

    If you still need more “rockist” type arrangements and instruments, you just need to evaluate the many iterations of Kraftwerk. Go back to the proto Kraftwerk. They were called Organization. The record was “Tone Float”

    Either of the first two records, Kraftwerk 1 and 2, are fearlessly experimental, confrontational and largely performed with standard rock instruments.

    Seek out the live performances of transitional Kraftwerk in which Ralf is MIA. The group includes Florian on flute/electronics and soon to be members of NEU!, Michael Rother on guitar and Klaus Dinger.

    If those performances don’t satisfy your primal rock caveman desires you are a pitiful caveman!

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