Blue Plate Special: Wire
Wire is a pioneering British rock band that emerged from the London punk scene in the late 1970s, and is, in my mind, one of the most underrated bands of the 70s, 80s and 90s. They are widely regarded as one of the most influential bands of their era, known for their minimalist approach to songwriting and experimentation with new sounds and styles, producing 18 studio albums (so far). Wire was formed in 1976 by four art school students: Colin Newman on guitar and vocals, Graham Lewis on bass and vocals, Bruce Gilbert on guitar, and Robert Gotobed (born Robert Grey) on drums. They began by playing punk rock but soon developed their own distinctive sound, incorporating elements of post-punk, art rock, and electronic music.
I consider myself a late bloomer on Wire. While I remember seeing their first album, Pink Flag (1978) within friend’s music collections when I was younger and probably had heard much of their early catalog, it wasn’t until the band broke up then reunited and published 1987’s “The Ideal Copy” that I became a huge fan. Their single “Ahead” was played extensively in the modern music club scene and college radio with its electronic, dance, and industrial rock elements.
In the 2000s, Wire returned to their minimalist roots with a series of critically acclaimed albums that drew on their early punk and post-punk influences. Wire’s influence can be heard in a wide range of musical genres, from post-punk and new wave to indie rock and electronic music. They continue to tour and record new music, and their legacy as one of the most innovative and influential bands of their era is secure.
Here are some of my favorites from their extensive catalog: