Tour de France by Kraftwerk
Tour de France is a song released as a single by pioneer electronic and psychedelic German band Kraftwerk. The single was released in June 1983 and it reached position 22 on the singles chart in the UK. Tour de France has many voice samples, as well as many sounds recorded from bikes during cycling tours that members of the band used to go on together. The idea of making a song using mechanical sounds from bikes was born from the interest the members of the band had in cycling in general. Instead of using real percussion instruments, they recorded, enhanced and sampled the pattern sounds captured during the biking sessions. Ralf Hütter, Karl Bartos and Florian Schneide were given credit for the music, while Maxime Schmitt and Ralf Hütter were given credit for the lyrics. Some critics have observed that the melody in Tour de France resembles a section of the opening of “Heiter Bewegt” (Sonata for Flute and Piano) by Paul Hindemith.
The cover of the single was inspired by a Hungarian post stamp from the year 1953. Also, Tour de France was a sort of shift in theme that Kraftwerk had been exploring in his previous works, more technological oriented, such as “Man Machine” or “Computer World”. The song had a much lighter tone than its predecessors, and is thought to be a sort of celebration of living, outdoors, nature and cycling. Also the members had recently taken a big interest in the sport and in cycling events in general, which influenced their music deeply.
This song by Kraftwerk has been re issued, re edited, re recorded and remixed so many times that it is hard to know which is the original version at this point. The song was planned to be included in the album that was gonna be named Techno Pop, which was never completed nor released