The genesis of the group began when Edgar Froese was invited to give several private concerts. One of them was for Salvadore Dali, at which music was mixed with literature, painting, early forms of multimedia and more. Only the absurdest ideas were able to gather any attention at these gatherings. From this, Froese developed the phrase "in the absurd often lies what is artistically possible". Various members of the group came and went, but the direction of the music continued to be inspired by the Surrealists at the beginning of the century.
Most notable of Froese's collaborations was his partnership with Christopher Franke. In several international reviews the music of Tangerine Dream was described as an "unreal soundtrack" to an "unreal, unknown life", a life in which all events happened at "the same time and the same place".
In the 1980s, Tangerine Dream composed scores for several (20+) Hollywood movies. Franke went on to compose the score for the television science fiction series Babylon 5.
Edgar Froese, famously, began his avant-garde career as a student of Salvador Dalí.