As soon as we had the notion to do a yearly Hall Of fame award it was a pretty forgone conclusion as to who would be the first recipient (actually, the first four years were pretty obvious!). There was never any doubt.
If you read electronic rumors, if you’re into electronic music, whether it’s some brand of Pop, whether you’re a Dubstep fiend, whether your preferred method of musical enjoyment is stroking your beard to the latest experimental release, whether you’re all glowsticks and euphoria or a Funk loving lover, the music you love probably wouldn’t exist without Kraftwerk.
To call them electronic music pioneers seems like an understatement. Were they the first to make music from synthesizers? Of course not, but pre-Kraftwerk the synth was either the tool of pompous Prog Rock banks or noise mongers who cared little for songs. While Kraftwerk resided heavily into the world of the latter the difference they made is the unison of experimental electronics and repetitive rhythms and melody. Which is essentially electronic Pop. They were a direct influence on the first generation if SynthPop artists and synthesizer Disco and Hip Hop producers who, in turn, went on to influence everything we know and love.
Four German technicians, who had no interest in becoming music stars, are signally the most important band I can think of.
Kraftwerk’s back catalogue has an album for everyone, from the early, more abstract material, to the mid-period ElectroPop, to the Techno-Pop of recent years, all of it is essential.