Led by avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, Cologne in West Germany became the home of futuristic, experimental music in the early 1960s, laying the down the foundations for electronica and inspiring the likes of Neu!, Kraftwerk, and Tangerine Dream. Holger Czukay, a student of Stockhausen, formed Can with jazz drummer Jaki Liebezeit, young guitarist Michael Karoli, and keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, who had just returned from New York where he had come across Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground, and psychedelic art-house rock & roll. Rejecting their classical and jazz backgrounds, the band sought to define their own answer to the revolutionary music of the time and came up with a progressive, post-psychedelic sound full of mechanical rhythms and freeform jams that came to be known as krautrock. When the band first formed, they brought in American vocalist Malcolm Money, who was then replaced by Damo Suzuki in 1970. After Suzuki’s departure in 1973, vocals were handled by Karoli and Schmidt. One of the first bands to experiment with sampling, they pioneered world music by incorporating styles from Asia and Africa and went on to record the classic albums Monster Movie (1969), Tago Mago (1971), and Future Days (1973). The band split in 1979, briefly reformed in 1986, and recorded the album Rite Time (with vocalist Malcolm Mooney), which was released in 1989. They came together again in 1991 to record a song for the soundtrack of the film Until the End of the World, but any hope of a permanent reunion ended in 2001 with the death of guitarist Michael Karoli. Drummer Jaki Liebezeit and bassist Holger Czukay both passed away in 2017, the former from pneumonia and the latter from natural causes. Nonetheless, the band's legacy lived on, with albums like 2017's The Singles and 2021's Live in Stuttgart 1975 being released posthumously. Damo Suzuki, who fronted the band from 1970 to 1973, died on February 9, 1974, at the age of 74.

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