Cool in the Pool – Holger Czukay

We’re reaching peak rock star death era – many of the musicians active during rock music’s formative years are reaching their seventies. This week we lost Walter Becker of Steely Dan, who was an integral part of one of the 1970s’ best and most consistent bands, and he was rightly mourned. But Holger Czukay of Can also passed away this week, and he deserves a moment in the spotlight as a driving force behind a unique and influential band.

Czukay was born in 1938, and studied under Stockhausen, before taking up with rock music, after hearing The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’. He was part of a formidable rhythm section in Can with drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who also passed away this year. But as well as his bass lines, Czukay was the group’s editor, honing the group’s jams into coherent songs.

I already covered Can’s ‘Halleluwah’ a few weeks ago, but Czukay also had a respectable solo career after leaving Can. His 1979 album Movies is included in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and the most accessible track is ‘Cool In The Pool’, a showcase for Czukay’s infectious bass and goofy humour.



Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.


  1. I had forgotten he had a solo album (in addition to the Can albums) on the 1001 list – thanks for giving him a moment in the spotlight.
    I always find it interesting to hear what song/album/moment inspired a musician, neat to read it was I am the walrus with Holger

  2. I guess, we are going see and hear about all these older guy’s passing now! I could never get into Steely Dan but still sad and I enjoyed Tago Mago a week or so ago, I’ll have to check out his solo stuff now!

    • I guess his passing was shadowed by Becker’s a little – he was something of an invisible hand guy who has fingerprints everywhere, but little fame outside of music geeks.

      I haven’t heard any of his other stuff outside Can and Movies (and only know Secrets of the Beehive from Sylvian). Guess that’s something to explore sometime.

  3. I have never heard of this guy. If you had (literally) told me he was the president of the Czech Republic I would have believed you. I note that, born in 1938, he’s quite a bit older than the generation we’re seeing pass, most of whom were born in the mid-to-late ’40’s.

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