Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Kraftwerk, “The Model” / “Computer Love”
33 years ago today, the German band Kraftwerk went to the top of the UK Singles chart with a double A-side, even though one of the songs had actually made its debut on an album the band had released four years earlier.
Written by Ralf Hutter and Karl Bartos, with lyrical contributions from artist Emi Schult, “Das Model” – or, as it’s known to English-speaking listeners, “The Model” – first appeared on Kraftwerk’s 1978 album The Man-Machine, at which point it actually proved to be a top-40 hit on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart. The song managed to get a second shot at success, however, when the group released the single “Computer Love,” the title track of their 1981 album, and put “The Model” on the B-side.
“Computer Love” went to #36 in the UK charts, which was a relatively respectable showing, but when EMI noticed that DJs had begun to play “The Model,” the label decided to reissue the single, flipping the A and B sides. The end result was a #1 single, one which spent 21 weeks within the top 75 of the chart, but by all reports, Kraftwerk were not particularly thrilled by the label’s actions. Still, you’d like to think they at least managed to crack a smile when they heard they’d earned a #1 single.
Oh, wait, sorry, we forgot we were talking about Kraftwerk. Of course they didn’t smile. Still, it’s a nice credit for them to have on their résumé, at least.