->''"I never know which version I'm going to be''
->''I seem to have so many choices open to me"''
-->--'''Wire''', "40 Versions"

Wire are a LongRunner PostPunk band formed in Watford, England in 1976 by Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert "Gotobed" Grey (drums). [[note]] There was also George Gill (lead guitar), [[ThePeteBest who was thrown out before their first release]] [[OldShame and henceforth rarely spoken of]]. [[/note]]

Wire are best known for their 1977 debut album ''Music/PinkFlag'' and specifically its track "12 X U", which, in a roundabout way, [[TropeMakers pretty much started the entire genre of]] HardcorePunk; to a lesser extent, they are also well-known in certain circles for their next two albums (1978's ''Chairs Missing'' and 1979's ''154''), both of which, while quite different, [[TropeCodifier helped define what we now know as]] PostPunk. All three are universally regarded as classics of the New Wave period, and each set the trend that Wire would later become notorious for: Every album a NewSoundAlbum, every tour a showcase of new material, regardless of fan or critic's opinion.

It was this incorrigibility, as well as internal tensions, that lead the band to leave EMI in late 1979, then go on hiatus in 1980, each member retreating to various solo projects. Lewis and Gilbert formed Dome (a.k.a. [[IHaveManyNames Cupol, Duet Emmo, Gilbert & Lewis...]]) and experimented with [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible confusing the hell out of everyone]] [[NiceHat whilst wearing awesome hats]]; Newman, Gotobed and producer Mike Thorne, on the other hand, made eccentric, punk-inflected pop music under Newman's name.

And then, in 1985, without warning, Wire resurfaced, playing sets consisting solely of new material.

From 1986 to 1989, the band released three albums of darkly satirical SynthPop, to the chagrin of many of their punk-minded fans and varying critical opinion. Undeterred, the band soldiered on, experimenting with drum machines, early MIDI technology and remixing, their interests culminating in the 1990 releases of ''The Drill'' (consisting of numerous, wildly different versions of their '80s SignatureSong "Drill") and the much-derided ''Manscape''.

Seeing himself as irrelevant to the band's new sound, Robert Gotobed quit in 1991; in acknowledgement of his departure, the band changed their name to Wir ([[NoPronunciationGuide pronounced either as "wire" or "veer"]]) and released ''The First Letter'', which produced a BlackSheepHit in the mournful dance number "So and Slow It Grows". The success was short-lived, and Wir dissolved in 1993.

Aside from the occasional remix project and an epic-length performance of "Drill" commemorating Bruce Gilbert's fiftieth birthday in 1996, Wire remained silent until 1999, at which point they reformed for a series of retrospective shows. Soon, they began to perform and release new material again, starting with the release of the ''Read & Burn'' EP series and culminating with 2002's ''Send''. The new releases saw a return to the raw ferocity of ''Pink Flag'' married to the lyrical and technological advancements of their '80s releases and production influences taken from modern drum 'n' bass and {{noise rock}}, and were greeted with massive enthusiasm from fans and critics alike.

In 2003, Bruce Gilbert, grown bored of playing guitar and interested in pursuing his solo work, amicably left the group; Margaret Fiedler [=McGinnis=] of Laika was recruited to replace him as touring guitarist. Subsequent albums, such as 2007's ''Object 47'', have been more subdued and widely spaced, though the band's touring schedule remains formidable. For their 2010 tour, [=McGinnis=] was replaced by Matt Simms of It Hugs Back, who became a full member of the band for 2013's ''Change Becomes Us''.

Selected discography:
* ''Music/PinkFlag'' (1977 ) Arguable TropeMakers for HardcorePunk; contains "12 X U".
* ''Chairs Missing'' (1978) One of several {{Trope Codifier}}s for PostPunk.
* ''154'' (1979) - Darker and more experimental; many of its songs are {{Ur Example}}s of GothRock.
* ''Document & Eyewitness'' (1981) Live album, recorded 1979-1980; notoriously difficult.
* ''Snakedrill'' EP (1986) Begins Wire Mk. II; also, the first appearance of "Drill".
* ''The Ideal Copy'' (1987)
* ''A Bell is a Cup... Until It is Struck'' (1988)
* ''It's Beginning To and Back Again'' a.k.a. ''IBTABA'' (1989) A "live" album consisting mostly of new versions of older songs based on portions of live performances. There are also a couple studio recordings of new material on the album, and one of those songs, "Eardrum Buzz", is the band's most successful single.
* ''The Drill'' (1990) [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Multiple remixes (by the band) of "Drill",]] [[InNameOnly some bearing no resemblance to the original.]]
* ''Manscape'' (1990)
* ''The First Letter'' (1991, as Wir) Without Robert Gotobed; produced "So and Slow It Grows".
* ''Read & Burn 01'' (2001) Begins Wire Mk. III.
* ''Send'' (2002)
* ''Read & Burn 03'' (2004) First release without Bruce Gilbert.
* ''Object 47'' (2007)
* ''A Red Barked Tree'' (2011)
* ''The Black Session'' (2012) Live-in-the-studio album.
* ''Change Becomes Us'' (2013) Reworked material originally written circa ''Document & Eyewitness''.
* ''Wire'' (2015)
* ''Nocturnal Koreans'' (2016) - Recorded at the same time as ''Wire''.

!! This band provides examples of:

* CoverAlbum:
** Received a Tribute Album titled ''[[IntentionallyAwkwardTitle Whore]]'', which included contributions from Music/MyBloodyValentine, Music/{{Lush}}, [[Music/{{Minutemen}} Mike Watt]], and Music/SkinnyPuppy.
** They were on the receiving end once again with ''A Houseguest's Wish'', an album in which every track is a different band or artist's take on "Outdoor Miner."
** Similarly, there was ''Dugga Dugga Dugga'', a whole album of other musicians covering/remixing "Drill".
* CoverVersion:
** Their songs have been covered a ''lot'': "12 X U" by Music/MinorThreat, "Ex Lion Tamer" by [[Music/HenryRollins Rollins Band]], "Strange" by Music/{{REM}}...
** ''Live at the Roxy'' includes covers of JJ Cole ("After Midnight") and The Dave Clark Five ("Glad All Over").
* DrivenToSuicide: "Another The Letter":
-->''Behind the curtain, in the yellow bulb light''\\
''The letter reads: I took my own life''
* EpicRocking: While generally known for [[MinisculeRocking the reverse]] (see below), Wire have shown themselves quite capable of writing longer songs and playing out originally shorter ones in a live setting. The longest formal studio track by Wire is "You Hung Your Lights in the Tress / A Craftsman's Touch" from ''Manscape'' at 10:03, but the extant recordings of the 1979 live pieces "Crazy About Love" and "A Panamanian Craze?" both exceed fifteen, and there are live versions of "Drill" said to have gone on for as long as half an hour.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: "Small Electric Piece", an instrumental made of just synth throbs.
* FunWithAcronyms: ''IBTABA'', or ''It's Beginning To and Back Again''.
* GothRock: UrExample with some of the more moody, experimental tracks from ''154''.
* HardcorePunk: TropeMakers with "12 X U" and ''Pink Flag''. Their brevity and aggression were heavily influential to Hardcore Punk bands such as Minor Threat.
* IncrediblyLongNote: [[RapeAsDrama The last word in]] "Reuters".
* IntercourseWithYou: "Practice Makes Perfect" has overtones of this, but the tone of the track and [[NoodleImplements some of the odder references]] imply something [[BlackMagic much more sinister]].
* LyricalDissonance: Even at their poppiest, they still manage to include lyrics like "Please take your knife out of my back" and [[AntiLoveSong "One of us will live to rue the day we met each other"]]. They have also written sweet, singalong songs about leaf-eating insects ("Outdoor Miner"), monetary and sexual exploitation in show business ("Ahead"), cartography as an ecstatic experience ("Map Ref. 41°N 93°W"), and... Nothing at all ("The 15th").
* MadnessMantra:
** "Pink Flag" ends with an extended sequence of the band screaming "HOW MANY?!" as the tempo continuously speeds up.
** "Practice Makes Perfect" has "Waiting, waiting, waiting for us... Waiting, waiting, waiting for us...". Colin only repeats it [[SanitySlippage louder and more unhinged each time]].
* MinisculeRocking: One of the band's early trademarks, particularly with ''Pink Flag''. They never played a song beyond what seemed necessary, thus most songs lasting between 0:30 - 1:30. They started letting them run longer more often with ''Chairs Missing''.
* NewSoundAlbum: Practically every new one. ''Chairs Missing'' expanded ''Pink Flag'''s sound to include synths and moodier soundscapes, ''154'' dipped into brooding Gothic PostPunk, ''Snakedrill EP'' began the band's SynthPop period, ''Send'' and the ''Read & Burn'' EP's were much DarkerAndEdgier, bringing in elements of Industrial music and NoiseRock, ''Object 47'' marked a steady return to the band's 70s PostPunk sound, culminating in ''Change Becomes Us'' being entirely of incomplete music from 79-80.
* NonAppearingTitle: "Brazil", "106 Beats That", "Mannequin", "French Film (Blurred)", "Men 2nd", "Outdoor Miner" [[note]] It gets close with the line ''Face worker, a serpentine miner'' [[/note]], "The 15th", "Blessed State" [[note]] Present in the original demo lyric, but cut on the album version [[/note]], "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W", "Indirect Enquiries".
** Most of these titles relate to the content of the lyrics in some way, but a few are more oblique: "Brazil" refers to the samba-like groove of Gotobed's drum part, "The 15th" was simply the fifteenth song that they recorded at that session, and "106 Beats That" was originally written to be 106 beats long.
* PunBasedTitle: The "X" in "12 X U" is self-censorship for "fuck" (so "12 X U" = "want to fuck you").
* PunkRock: Circa-''Music/PinkFlag''. The artiest and coldest Punk Rock band to boot.
* PostPunk: {{Trope Codifier}}s with ''Chairs Missing'' and ''154'', and ''Pink Flag'' is an UrExample with its cold and angular sound.
* RearrangeTheSong:
** ''The Drill'' was a whole album of remixes of one song, "Drill", many of them sounding nothing like the original.
** ''Send'' and ''Send Ultimate'' include "Nice Streets Above" and "DJ Fuckoff", which both started off as "Drill" remixes but warped enough to be completely unrecognizable. There's also "12 Times U" and "12 Times X", both remixes of "12 X U". And the loud, fast "Artificial Gravity" got rearranged as the gothic dirge "You Can't Leave Now."
** ''Change Becomes Us'' features more conventional arrangements of some of their stranger material from ''Document and Eyewitness''.
* SelfTitledAlbum: Their 2015 album.
* SignsOfTheEndTimes: "Reuters":
-->"Prices have risen since the government fell\\
Casualties increase as the enemy shell\\
The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive\\
And sooner or later the end will arrive"
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: Bassist Graham Lewis began singing lead on ''Chairs Missing'' ("Sand in my Joints") and has been the secondary vocalist since.
* SynthPop: Their 80's-90's material.
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: "Feeling Called Love":
-->''What is this feeling called love?''\\
''What is this crazy thing I can't explain anyhow?''
* WordPureeTitle: "12 X U". "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W" is not, though it looks like it at first glance.
* WordSaladLyrics: Clarity is not one of the band's goals. Many of their lyrics make more sense if you know the background to them, especially their denser '80s work, but when a band uses references to polymer plastic's effects on the ivory trade as throwaway lines... Well, confusion is to be expected.