154 (album)

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Wire-154 (album cover).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1979 (1979-09)
RecordedApril—May 1979 (April—May 1979)
StudioAdvision Studios, West London, England, United Kingdom
GenrePost-punk, art punk, experimental rock
ProducerMike Thorne
Wire studio album chronology
Chairs Missing
The Ideal Copy
Singles from 154
  1. "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W"
    Released: 26 October 1979
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[2]
The Guardian5/5 stars[3]
Mojo5/5 stars[4]
Q5/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[7]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[8]
Uncut4/5 stars[9]
The Village VoiceB[10]

154 is the third album by the English post-punk band Wire, released in 1979 (see 1979 in music) on EMI imprint Harvest Records in the UK and Europe and Warner Bros. Records in America. Branching out even further from the minimalist punk rock style of their earlier work, 154 is considered a progression of the sounds displayed on Wire's previous album Chairs Missing, with the group experimenting with slower tempos, fuller song structures and a more prominent use of guitar effects, synthesizers and electronics.

154 peaked at number 39 in the UK Albums Chart, the highest position the band has achieved.[11] It was first issued on CD in 1987 by EMI Japan and later reissued by Restless Records in 1989. First editions of the vinyl album were accompanied by an EP, the tracks from which are included on the Harvest CD, issued in 1994, along with an additional bonus track. The new remastered release, released by Pinkflag as digipacks in 2006, does not contain any extra tracks, because, according to the band, such additions dishonour the "conceptual clarity of the original statements."[12] The album is so named because the band had played 154 gigs in their career at the time of the album's release. Pitchfork listed 154 as 85th best album of the 1970s.[13]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the 2018 Special Edition.[14]

Side One
1."I Should Have Known Better"Graham LewisLewis3:52
2."Two People in a Room"Bruce GilbertColin Newman2:00
3."The 15th"NewmanNewman3:05
4."The Other Window"GilbertGilbert, Lewis2:07
5."Single K.O."LewisLewis, Newman[nb 1]2:23
6."A Touching Display"LewisLewis6:55
7."On Returning"NewmanNewman2:06
Side two
8."A Mutual Friend"LewisNewman4:28
9."Blessed State"GilbertGilbert3:28
10."Once Is Enough"NewmanNewman3:23
11."Map Ref. 41°N 93°W"Lewis[nb 2]Newman3:40
12."Indirect Enquiries"LewisNewman3:36
13."40 Versions"GilbertGilbert, Newman[nb 3]3:28

Tracks 19–24 are demo versions that have also appeared on compilations such as Behind the Curtain and After Midnight.

2018 Special Edition[edit]


Credits adapted from the liner notes of the 2018 Special Edition.[14]

  • Colin Newman – vocals, guitar, backing vocals, distorted bass on "On Returning"
  • Graham Lewis – bass, vocals on "I Should Have Known Better" and "Blessed State", backing vocals, percussion on "Once Is Enough", sleeve concept
  • B. C. Gilbert – guitar, spoken word on "The Other Window", sleeve concept
  • Robert Gotobed – drums, percussion
Additional personnel and production
Bonus tracks
  • Colin Newman – vocals, guitar, syndrum on "Go Ahead", saxophone on "Former Airline", keyboards on "Midnight Bahnhof Cafe", production on "Get Down (Parts I + II)"
  • Graham Lewis – bass, keyboards on "Go Ahead", saxophone on "Former Airline", vocals and production on "Let's Panic Later"
  • B. C. Gilbert – guitar, bass on "Go Ahead", saxophone on "Former Airline", production on "Small Electric Piece"
  • Robert Gotobed – drums, production on "Song 1"
  • Mike Thorne – production on "A Question Of Degree" and "Former Airline"
  • Paul Hardiman – engineer on "A Question Of Degree" and "Former Airline"
  • Ken Thomas – assistant engineer on "A Question Of Degree" and "Former Airline"
  • Wire – production on "Go Ahead", "Our Swimmer", "Midnight Bahnhof Cafe", "Our Swimmer (2nd Length)", "Catapult 30" and the sixth demo sessions
  • Nick Glennie-Smith – engineer on 154 EP and the sixth demo sessions
  • Daniel Priest – engineer on "Go Ahead", "Our Swimmer" and "Midnight Bahnhof Cafe"
  • Steve Parker – engineer on "Our Swimmer (2nd Length)" and "Catapult 30"
  • "A Question Of Degree" and "Former Airline" recorded and mixed April 1979 at Advision Studios, London
  • 154 bonus EP recorded and mixed July 1979 at Riverside Studios, London
  • "Go Ahead", "Our Swimmer" and "Midnight Bahnhof Cafe" recorded and mixed November 1979 at Magritte Studios, Middlesex
  • "2nd Length (Our Swimmer)" and "Catapult 30" recorded and mixed 1980 at Scorpio Sound, London


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "154 – Wire". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Wire". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  3. ^ Simpson, Dave (3 March 2006). "Wire, 154". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  4. ^ Myers, Ben (June 2018). "Wire: 154". Mojo. No. 295. p. 104.
  5. ^ Tangari, Joe (5 May 2006). "Wire: Pink Flag / Chairs Missing / 154". Pitchfork. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  6. ^ Harris, John (July 2018). "Dawning of a New Era". Q. No. 386. pp. 120–21.
  7. ^ Gross, Joe (2004). "Wire". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 883–84. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  8. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Wire". Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 270. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  9. ^ "Wire: 154". Uncut. No. 106. March 2006. p. 106.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (25 February 1980). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Wire | full Official Chart History" (select "Albums" tab). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 April 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Pitchfork staff (23 June 2004). "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1970s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  14. ^ a b "154 (2018 Special Edition)". Discogs.com. Retrieved on 5 May 2019.
  15. ^ Neate, Wilson (2013). Read & Burn: A book about Wire. London: Jawbone Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-90827-933-0.

Informational notes[edit]

  1. ^ The songwriting credits for 154 have been modified on all reissues since 2006.[15] "Single K.O." was originally credited to Graham Lewis alone.
  2. ^ "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W" was originally credited to Graham Lewis, Colin Newman and Bruce Gilbert.
  3. ^ "40 Versions" was originally credited to Bruce Gilbert alone.
  4. ^ "Our Swimmer" and "2nd Length (Our Swimmer)" was originally credited to Bruce Gilbert, Robert Gotobed, Graham Lewis and Colin Newman.

External links[edit]