A moment of realisation.
Back in 1981 “Pocket Calculator” entered the Top 40. At Number 40 if I remember correctly. It was the first time i’d ever heard the band Kraftwerk. Quite probably a clued up record company exec noticed the flip side “The Model” had commercial potential. I never heard Radio 1 play “Pocket Calculator” again. It went on to be the most one-sided double A side I can recall.
Whilst “The Model” is clearly a fantastic pop song – the follow up was a mind boggling, dark epic. Astonishingly ahead of its time “Showroom Dummies” was a 5 year old re-release. That’s right, even though it was so futuristic and on the button in 1982, “Showroom Dummies” actually came out originally in 1977. Incredible.
The beauty of “Showroom Dummies” was / is its ability to capture the imagination. Cold. Steely. Minimal, yet SO alive. Unique. The track feels as if it was composed by robots. I’m sure that was the intention.
A stroke of record company mastery. I wonder just how many people checked out the bands back catalogue and discovered just how sublime and important Kraftwerk are after these 2 (3) tracks hit the chart? Hundreds of thousands, millions maybe?
In the first year at senior school pupils started bodypopping to the track in the playground. I can still recall it. These tracks crossed the band over. Listening to “Showroom Dummies” I’m getting the urge to “lock” even now – and I almost never dance. That must prove something – and to think if “Pocket Calculator” had never been flipped the band may have fell off the radar…