Bloomsbury Popular Music - Can
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Can

Anyone at the first Can show, which took place in Cologne, would have witnessed the birth of a new age of avant-garde rock music. Having studied avant-garde classical music, Irmin Schmidt went to New York City in 1966, where he studied with other avant-garde musicians and became influenced by the work of Andy Warhol. He returned to Germany and formed a band—later to be called Can—with fellow avant-gardists David C. Johnson and Holger Czukay, who had both studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen. Michael Karoli and Jaki Leibezeit were added and, by 1968, the band had developed a more rock-oriented sound that caused Johnson to depart. That year, the added American Malcolm Mooney prepared material for the band’s debut, Prepared to Meet Thy PNOOM, which was never released. Mooney recorded with Can for its first record, Monster Movie, but returned to the United States following a nervous breakdown and was replaced by Kenji Suzuki. His first record with the group, 1970’s Soundtracks, was followed by three more albums through 1973, regarded as the band’s most creative period, before he left and became a Jehovah’s Witness. Bolstered by better recording technology, the band pivoted to a more conventional pop sound. In 1976, “I Want More,” from Flow Motion, became its only charting song outside Germany. Czukay left the group in 1977 but continued assisting in production through the band’s 1979 eponymous album. Band members went on extended hiatus, recorded a final album, Rite Time in 1986, and reunited sporadically. Leibezeit and Czukay both died in 2017.