Welcome to electro pop and the feel of driving on a motorway. The German electronic band, which translates into “power station” in English, formed in 1969 in Düsseldorf. They were Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, working with a changing lineup of musicians. For this song, the personnel included Klaus Röder, and Wolfgang Flür. The song was composed by Hütter and Schneider in collaboration with Emil Schult on the lyrics. Schult also painted the album cover of the motorway on a sunny day. The song was released in a 22-minute version for Kraftwerk’s 1974 album titled Autobahn. It was also edited to a 3:28 single for radio play, which was released in 1975. It was the first international hit in this electronic genre. “Autobahn” went to #25 on the U.S Billboard Hot 100, #11 in the U.K., #9 in Germany, #12 in Canada and The Netherlands, and #4 in New Zealand. It was within the Top 30 in Australia Austria, Belgium, and South Africa.
Of note on the song is the instrumentation used that went on to influence electronic popular and dance music. There are the use of electronic percussion pads, a Moog bass sound with an added analogue echo, phrasing on synthesizers to play the chords, use of a vocoder on some of the vocals, and use of a motorik 4/4 drum beat in the song’s final section. There are also acoustic elements in the song, including guitar and flute.