Taking equal bits of inspiration from art and punk, but leaving behind some of the more ridiculous aspects of both fields, Wire were able to fuse experimentation and rock music in ways that many bands attempted to capture ever since their debut “Pink Flag” came out in 1977.
Future band members Colin Newman and Bruce Gilbert met while both were students at Watford Art College and together they formed a band called Overload. The band also included George Gill, who eventually was moved out of the band and replaced by Graham Lewis and Robert Gotobed (born Robert Grey) and thus the Wire line-up was complete.
The band started writing new material in the late 70s, but they were also constantly on the move – recording new songs, touring, abandoning the material that they played on tour and starting all over again. In the end, it all led to “Pink Flag” – a massive, sprawling 21-track album with much of its inspiration fueled by the band’s use of amphetamines.
All Music Guide described Pink Flag as “the most original album to come out of the first wave of British punk” and compared it to “The Ramones Go To Art School” where “song after song careens past in a glorious, stripped-down rush”. Critic Robert Christgau called it “punk suite” and praised it for “simalteanous rawness and detachment”, while Rolling Stone magazine placed it on the number 410 on the list of its 500 greatest albums of all time. Songs from the album were covered by a multitude of rock bands including New Bomb Turks, Therapy?, Firehose and R.E.M among others.
Their next record – 1978 “Chairs Missing” – was not as big or ambitious as its predecessor, but still garnered them plenty of praise. It featured more developed songwriting and was inspired by psychedlic and prog-rock and it also featured prominent keyboard/synthesizer sounds.
Their last statement from the 70s was 1979 “154” (apparently, named after the number of gigs that the band played to the moment where the album was released). The album added even more synthesizer elements to the overall bands sound and All Music Guide website pointed out that the album was clearly in post-punk camp and devoted itself to “experimental soundscapes that can sound cold and forbidding at times.”.
By the early 80s the band released “Document & Eyewitness” LP, the last record to feature a new band’s material before they split up into an individual projects. It wouldn’t be until 1985 when the band returned again and started playing electronic music, a decision which made Gotobed quit the band in 1990, since he realised that the band no longer requires a live drummer.
The band released little new material throughout the 90s, aside from doing a recording as Wir, which was ahead of its time, but recieved mixed reviews. The rest of the band members were involved in various side projects and it wasn’t until 1999 when the band became fully active again.
After doing U.S. and UK tours to a great reception the band decided to continue and record a series of Read and Burn EPs, as well as a completely new full-length – 2003 “Send”. As of 2009, they also had all of their original 70s albums reissued and July 2008 saw the release of yet another Wire full-length called “Objekt 47”.
Mannequin 7″ (Harvest, 1977 / EMI Music (Netherlands), 1977)
Pink Flag CD / LP (Harvest, 1977 / 1987 /2006 / Restless, 1989 / EMI, 2006 / 4 Men With Beards, 2006)
Chairs Missing CD / LP (Harvest, 1978 / 1987 / 1994 /2006 / Indisc, 1989 / Toshiba, 1994 / 4 Men With Beards, 2006)
Dot Dash 7″ (Harvest, 1978)
I Am The Fly 7″ (Harvest, 1978)
Outdoor Miner 7″ (Harvest, 1978 / EMI Music (Italy, 1978))
154 CD / LP (Warner Bros, 1979 / Harvest, 1979 / 1987 / 1994 / EMI Music (Italy, 1979))
A Question Of Degree 7″ (Harvest, 1979)
Live In London 1978 7″ (Wardance, 1979)
Map Ref 41 N 93 W 7″ (Harvest, 1979)
Our Swimmer 7″ (Harvest, 1979 / Rough Trade, 1979)
Document & Eyewitness LP + 12″ (Rough Trade, 1981 / Go International, 1981)
Crazy About Love 12″ (Rough Trade, 1983)
And Here It Is Again… LP (EMI Electrola + Bertelsmann Club, 1984 / Sneaky Pete, 1984)
In The Pink LP (Dojo, 1986)
Snakedrill 12″ (Enigma, 1986 / Mute, 1986 / Intercord Tontrager GMBH, 1986)
Wire Play Pop LP (The Pink Label, 1986)
Ahead 7″ / 12″ (Mute, 1987 / Intercord Tontrager GMBH, 1987)
The Ideal Copy CD / LP (Mute, 1987 / Enigma, 1987 / Alfa, 1987 / Intercord Tontrager GMBH, 1987)
A Bell Is A Cup Until Its Struck CD / LP (Mute, 1988 / Indisc, 1988 / Enigma, 1988 / Alfa, 1988)
Kidney Bingos CD / 7″ / 12″ (Mute, 1988 / Indisc, 1988 / Restless, 1988 / Edisom, 1988 / Intercord Tontrager GMBH, 1988)
Silk Skin Paws CD / 7″ / 12″ (Mute, 1988 / Indisc, 1988 / Restless, 1988 / Intercord Tontrager GMBH, 1988)
Eardrum Buzz CD / 7″ / 12″ (Mute, 1989 /Indisc, 1989 / Enigma, 1989 / Intercord Tontrager GMBH, 1989)
In Vivo CD / 7″ / 12″ (Mute, 1989 / Enigma, 1989 / Intercord Tontrager GMBH, 1989)
It’s Beginning To And Back Again CD / LP (Mute, 1989 / Indisc, 1989 / Enigma, 1989 / Alfa, 1989)
On Returning (1977-1979) CD / LP (Harvest, 1989 / Restless, 1989)
The Peel Sessions EP CD (Dutch East India Trading + Strange Fruit, 1989 / Castle Communications, 1989)
The Peel Sessions Album CD / LP (Strange Fruit, 1989)
Life In The Manscape CD (Enigma, 1990)
Manscape CD / LP / Cass (Mute, 1990 / Enigma, 1990)
The Drill CD / LP (Mute, 1991 / Elektra, 1991 / Alfa, 1991)
1985-1990: The A List CD (Mute, 1993 / 1997 / Elektra, 1993)
154 Pink Chairs CD (Classix, 1994)
After Midnight LP (Harvest, 1995)
Behind The Curtain (Early Versions 1977 & 78) CD (EMI, 1995)
Turns & Strokes CD (WMO, 1996)
Coatings CD / 2xCD (WMO, 1997)
Pink Flag / Chairs Missing / Wire 154 3xCD (Harvest + EMI, 2000)
The Third Day CD (Pinkflag, 2000)
Twelve Times You 7″ (Pinkflag, 2001)
Read & Burn 01 EP CD (Pinkflag, 2002)
Read & Burn 02 EP CD (Pinkflag, 2002)
Metro, Chicago, 14th September 2002 CD (Pinkflag, 2003)
PF456 Redux LP (Pinkflag, 2003)
Send CD (Pinkflag, 2003)
On The Box: 1979 CD + DVD (Pinkflag, 2004)
The Scottish Play: 2004 DVD (Pinkflag, 2005)
Live At The Roxy, London / Live At CBGB 2xCD (Pinkflag, 2006)
Wire: 1977-1979 – Pinkflag (America) 5xCD (Pinkflag, 2006)
Read & Burn 03 EP CD (Pinkflag, 2007)
Objekt 47 CD (Pinkflag, 2008)
Objekt 47 / Read & Burn 03 LP + 12″ (Pinkflag, 2008)
106 Beats That / Mr Suit / Strange / Fragile