After three experimental albums Kraftwerk released their fourth album, Autobahn in 1974. This was to be the beginning of their crossover from the avant-garde to commerciality and the title track from the album charted in many countires around the world making the Top Ten in Germany and New Zealand, Top Twenty in the UK, Holland, Ireland and Canada and The Top Thirty in America and Australia.
The title track was released as a single edited from 22.43 (the whole of Side 1) to 3.27. There hadn’t been such a brutal editing job since 1968 with Iron Butterfly’s In A Gadda Da Vida where the title track was edited from 17.05 to a mere 2.52. This was the first time Kraftwerk had made a record with vocals and whereas with later releases, Kraftwerk took to translating their songs into English, Autobahn was only ever released in German.
Artistic collaborator Emil Schult painted the cover art although the English version of the album had something of a generic sleeve designed by the record company art department.
A small artistic controversy arose recently when the band claimed that the sound of the car starting up at the beginning of the track was recorded by them with their own vehicle. This was challenged when someone found an old sound effects record that appeared to include the very sound that they had used. Why they would lie about it remains a mystery.
This is the album version of Autobahn, don’t bother watching the video but enjoy the music in its full 22 minute version.