After being denied six times, the pioneering German group has finally been recognized for their contributions to music.
For decades the Kraftwerk’s work has been sampled, remixed, and studied by artists across nearly every genre, with a heavy emphasis on electronic music. In a statement from the museum itself, they state that what we hear today might not have been possible without the band’s contributions.
“[Kraftwerk] established the blueprint for modern electronic music – without them it simply would not exist,” the statement reads.
Also joining Kraftwerk in the Hall’s Class of 2021 are Tina Turner, Carole King, Jay-Z, The Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters, Todd Rundgren, Charley Patton, Gil Scott-Heron, LL Cool J, Billy Preston, Clarence Avant, and Randy Rhoads.
For those unfamiliar with the Rock Hall or left questioning why an electronic group would be inducted into an establishment focused on the genre, the museum is about much more than tight leather pants and mullets.
Over the years acts outside the rock realm like N.W.A, Madonna, ABBA, and Michael Jackson have been included in their yearly classes. While acts that feature a lot of electronic sounds in their music like Depeche Mode, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails were previously inducted, Kraftwerk was infamously denied year after year for over a half a decade.
In response to these questions and debates, some have made note that the previously mentioned acts have inspired rock music throughout the years, while others have debated what exactly constitutes “rock & roll.” This was famously mentioned at the 2016 induction ceremony, when inductee Ice Cube of N.W.A addressed the discussion.
“The question is are we rock ‘n’ roll? Rock ‘n’ roll is not an instrument,” Cube said in an excerpt shared by Cleveland.com. “Rock ‘n’ roll is not even a style of music. Rock ‘n’ roll is a spirit…Rock ‘n’ roll is not conforming. Rock ‘n’ roll is outside the box, and rock ‘n’ roll is N.W.A.”
All of the 2021 inductees will be honored at the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, October 30th at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in the museum’s home of Cleveland, Ohio. You can learn more about the class and this fall’s ceremony here.