Following the news that WIRE will reissue their hugely influential first three albums, ‘Pink Flag’ (1977), ‘Chairs Missing’ (1978) and ‘154’ (1979), the band have shared a previously unreleased demo version of the track “French Film Blurred”, which will feature on the Special Edition CD book (out May 18th).
There were 26 demo recordings made towards ‘Chairs Missing’ – an album with 15 tracks. “French Film Blurred”existed in one version, recorded with a set of demos in December 1977 and then got re-written by April 1978 when the next set of demos was recorded.
“I liked the text so I gave it a new, more thoughtful, slightly off kilter, tune” Colin Newman explains. “There was a palpable sense of progress. It was as if the new material, as it increased in volume & ambition, was literally pushing anything that sounded backwards looking (and by April 1978 that meant anything that sounded like it belonged on “Pink Flag”) out the door. Thus the story of version 1 of “French Film Blurred” carries a strong element of the story of Wire. Progress is all. There’s nothing wrong with the tune. It’s a perfectly acceptable piece of music that does sound like a development from the material on “Pink Flag” and is in it’s own way quite charming but is then utterly eclipsed, in terms of style & sophistication, by the version that eventually turned up on ‘Chairs Missing.’”
‘Pink Flag’ (1977), ‘Chairs Missing’ (1978) and ‘154’ (1979) need no introduction. They are the three classic albums on which Wire’s reputation is based. Moreover, they are the recordings that minted the post-punk form. This was adopted by other bands, but Wire were there first and are cited as a major influence by acts including Henry Rollins & Black Flag, R.E.M., Hüsker Dü, Minutemen, Minor Threat and many more.
These albums have been out of production for some time, but will be made available again this spring via the band’s own Pinkflag record label. The release formats will be firstly as special edition CD books with a mountain of exclusive unreleased material and rarities on May 18th. These Special Editions will be launched with a question & answer / signing session at Rough Trade East, London on Sat 19th May (info here). They will be followed bystandard edition LP and CD formats on June 22nd. Further details on each release are listed below.
‘Pink Flag’ / ‘Chairs Missing’ / ‘154’ special edition CD books
Release date: 18 May, 2018 on Pink Flag
These are the definitive re-releases. Each album is presented as an 80-page hardback book – the size of a 7-inch, but obviously much thicker. After a special introduction by Jon Savage, Graham Duff provides insight into each track. These texts include recording details, brand-new interviews with band members, and lyrics.
The original album is presented on its own CD, accompanied by discs that feature relevant extra tracks: singles; B-sides; demos; and many previously unreleased songs. Pink Flag is a two-CD set; Chairs Missing and 154 have three CDs each. All audio has been painstakingly remastered (or, in some cases, mastered for the first time).
This stunning set of presentations also includes a range of images from the archive of Annette Green. Wire’s official photographer during this period, Green also shot the covers for Pink Flag and Chairs Missing. Promotional and informal imagery – in colour and black and white – is featured throughout the books. Most of the photographs have not been seen for 40 years – and many have never been published any- where before.
These special editions are something every Wire fan will want to own.
Track listings for the special edition releases can be found at http://pinkflag.com/
The Special Editions will be launched with a question & answer/signing session at Rough Trade East, London on Sat 19th May (check www.roughtrade.com for more information).
Please note: although the three original albums remain available through digital stores and streaming services, the extra tracks from the special editions will not be released digitally.
‘Pink Flag’ / ‘Chairs Missing’ / ‘154’ standard edition 12” vinyl & CD
Release date: June 22nd 2018 on Pink Flag
It has been a number of years since these albums were readily available. The aim with these new vinyl and CD releases is to approximate the original statements as closely as possible, but with remastered audio.
The vinyl releases have the same covers and inners as the originals (minus the Harvest logo). The digi-pack CDs have identical tracklistings to their vinyl counterparts. These versions should be considered Wire’s classic 1970s albums, pure and undiluted.