Ralf Hütter, co-founder of German electro-pop pioneers Kraftwerk, was so obsessed with cycling that he regularly took part in road-racing events. But in early 1983, he came to grief during a race along the Rhine River, colliding with another rider and fracturing his skull. When Hütter emerged from an induced coma several days later, the germ of a new song had lodged in his brain. The third in a trilogy of transportation-related tunes (after
Autobahn and Trans-Europe Express), Tour de France referenced the annual bike race and underlined Hütter’s love of the sport in spite of the accident that almost killed him. Cycling, he said, “is like music. It is free, it is outside, it is the weather, the planet, energy, speed, balance, aerodynamics. The bicycle itself is a musical instrument. The noise of the chain, the pedal and gear mechanism, the breathing of the cyclist, we have incorporated all of this in the Kraftwerk sound.”
The 2014 Tour de France, until July 27.
TOUR DE FRANCEKRAFTWERK, 1983