Ralf Hütter was worried. Market research indicated the British public’s preference for new single “Computer Love”‘s b-side, Man Machine album track and 1978 German single,”The Model”. Some at EMI (UK) boardroom level were suggesting re-releasing the single with “The Model” on the a-side.
“But what about the iconography, if you use the Man Machine colour scheme and typography for this single, the public will be confused. We’ll trying to push Computer World, remember?”
“Just put the words ‘the model’ on the Computer World computer screen, no-one’ll know the difference,” piped up a junior executive helpfully.
“I like your thinking,” said the chairman, turning to face the junior executive in his executive swivel chair. “Call up the art department and make it so.”
“It’s not right aesthetically ,” argued Hütter, a note of panic rising in his voice. “And besides, it’s not even that good a song. I mean the rhetorical point about models being vacuous maneaters in love with themselves and the camera isn’t exactly groundbreaking, is it? The melody, such as it is, is banal and the way it’s sung is pretty obvious, too, all ennui and monotone.”
“You know, you’re right,” the chairman smiled malevolently. “We shouldn’t re-release this on grounds both artistic and aesthetic. But, Hütter, we are re-releasing it. Someday you’ll thank me. But if it makes you feel better, the record’s label will still show ‘Computer Love’ as the a-side and ‘The Model’ as the flip with the corresponding matrix numbers on the dead wax.”
In February 1982, “The Model” became Kraftwerk’s only UK number one–indeed, their only chart topper anywhere. Kraftwerk were able to buy a few more bells and whistles for Kling Klang and Ralf Hütter sent the EMI executive a fruit basket with a humble Danke note.