In 1970, the German duo of Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider changed the direction of modern music with the creation of their now-infamous electronic project Kraftwerk. Over time, they grew into a quartet, but have now lost one half of the original team as Florian Schneider has passed away. He was 73 years old.
Schneider, who played a wide range of instruments including synthesizer, vocoder, flute, sax and more, as well as providing vocals, left the band in 2008 after four decades. During his time with the group, Kraftwerk released 10 studio albums, seven of which charted on the Billboard 200, including 1974’s acclaimed and iconic Autobahn, which peaked at #5. Additionally, the team sold a whopping 733,000 albums since the inception of Nielsen Music/MRC Data in 1991. They won the best dance/electronic album Grammy in 2017 for 3-D The Catalogue, and were honored with the lifetime achievement award in 2014.
Group co-founder Ralf Hütter confirmed “the very sad news that his friend and companion over many decades Florian Schneider has passed away from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday.” His influence has spread around the world, lending inspiration to the likes of fellow electronic music legends Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and the Talking Heads.
Kraftwerk recently announced a 50-year anniversary celebration tour to take place across North America this year but with the COVID-19 pandemic and recent death of one member, the trek will no longer take place. These performances were planned to be an extension of the group’s highly sought-after 3-D performances and the first time in four years that the quartet has performed the specific setup in the United States.