Pink Flag

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Pink Flag
Studio album by Wire
Released December 1977
Recorded September–October 1977
Studio Advision Studios, London, England, UK
Length 35:37
Label Harvest
Producer Mike Thorne
Wire chronology
Pink Flag
Chairs Missing

Pink Flag is the debut studio album by English post-punk band Wire. It was released in December 1977, through Harvest Records. Though the album failed to chart on its initial release, the album has been widely acclaimed and is considered influential by critics.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record Guide A[2]
Pitchfork 10/10[3]
Q 5/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[5]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 10/10[6]
Uncut 5/5 stars[7]

Upon its release, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called Pink Flag a "punk suite" and praised its "simultaneous rawness and detachment" and detected a rock-and-roll irony similar to but "much grimmer and more frightening" than the Ramones.[8]

In a retrospective review, Steve Huey of AllMusic opined that Pink Flag was "perhaps the most original debut album to come out of the first wave of British punk" and also "recognizable, yet simultaneously quite unlike anything that preceded it. Pink Flag's enduring influence pops up in hardcore, post-punk, alternative rock, and even Britpop, and it still remains a fresh, invigorating listen today: a fascinating, highly inventive rethinking of punk rock and its freedom to make up your own rules."[1] Trouser Press called the album "a brilliant 21-song suite" in which the band "manipulated classic rock song structure by condensing them into brief, intense explosions of attitude and energy, coming up with a collection of unforgettable tunes".[9]


Although the album was released to critical acclaim,[10][11][12][13] it was not a big seller. The album was listed at number 412 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2009[14] and at number 378 in NME's list of the same name in 2013.[15] Music journalist Stuart Maconie described it as "extraordinary" by the standards of the time at which it was produced.[16] Pitchfork ranked Pink Flag number 22 in its list "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s".[17] The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The album's wide-ranging influence is exemplified by the number of bands which have covered its songs. Hardcore punk and post-hardcore acts that have covered songs from Pink Flag include Henry Rollins ("Ex Lion Tamer", on Drive by Shooting), Minor Threat ("1 2 X U", on Flex Your Head), and Firehose ("Mannequin", on Live Totem Pole), while Minutemen attributed to Pink Flag their approach of recording and releasing briefer songs. American alternative rock band R.E.M. reworked "Strange" on their 1987 album Document. Britpop band Elastica also used a riff similar to that of "Three Girl Rhumba" for their song "Connection". Graham Coxon of Blur cited Pink Flag as an influence on his eighth studio album A+E.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Bruce Gilbert, Graham Lewis, Colin Newman, and Robert Gotobed, except as indicated. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Reuters"   3:03
2. "Field Day for the Sundays"   0:28
3. "Three Girl Rhumba"   1:23
4. "Ex Lion Tamer"   2:19
5. "Lowdown"   2:26
6. "Start to Move"   1:13
7. "Brazil"   0:41
8. "It's So Obvious"   0:53
9. "Surgeon's Girl"   1:17
10. "Pink Flag"   3:47
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
11. "The Commercial"     0:49
12. "Straight Line"     0:44
13. "106 Beats That"     1:12
14. "Mr. Suit"     1:25
15. "Strange"     3:58
16. "Fragile"     1:18
17. "Mannequin"     2:37
18. "Different to Me"   Annette Green 0:43
19. "Champs"     1:46
20. "Feeling Called Love"     1:22
21. "12 X U"     1:55
  • The bonus tracks were removed from the 2006 remastered reissues, because, according to the band, they didn't honour the "conceptual clarity of the original statements".[19]


Additional personnel


  1. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Pink Flag – Wire". AllMusic. Rovi. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Wire: Pink Flag". Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Tangari, Joe (5 May 2006). "Wire: Pink Flag / Chairs Missing / 154". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  4. ^ Cameron, Keith (January 2005). "Further Listening". Q (222). 
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City: Simon & Schuster. pp. 883–84. ISBN 0-74320169-8. 
  6. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York City: Vintage Books. p. 270. ISBN 0-67975574-8. 
  7. ^ "Wire: Pink Flag". Uncut (106): 106. March 2006. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (27 March 1978). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Wire". Trouser Press. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Colin Larkin (1994). All Time Top 1000 Albums. Guinness World Records. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-851-12786-6. ISBN 0-85112786-X. Abrasive and disjointed, these 21 tracks exude a fury impossible to ignore and one enhanced by their very brevity 
  11. ^ Michael Heatley, Paul Lester, Chris Roberts (1998). Paul Du Noyer, ed. The Encyclopedia of Albums. Bristol England: Dempsey Parr. ISBN 978-1-840-84031-5. ISBN 1-84084031-5. The artily unintelligible lyrics and dense production marked Wire out as a sort of New Wave Roxy Music (p. 170). 
  12. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (2010). Robert Dimery, ed. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. New York, NY: Universe. ISBN 978-0-789-32074-2. ISBN 0-78932074-6. The most original album of punk's first wave. [...] The resulting sound was far colder and more brutal than anything else around at the time (p. 381). 
  13. ^ NME (January 2006). 100 Greatest British Albums Ever!. Pink Flag was placed no. 83. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  14. ^ "412 | Pink Flag". Rolling Stone. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  15. ^ NME staff (23 October 2013). "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time: 400-301 | NME.COM". NME. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  16. ^ Stuart Maconie (2004). Cider With Roadies. London: Ebury Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-091-89745-1. ISBN 0-09189745-9. 
  17. ^ Pitchfork staff (23 June 2004). "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1970s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  18. ^ Q magazine, April 2012 issue.
  19. ^ Villeneuve, Phil (11 April 2006). "Wire Reissuing First Three LPs and Early Live Recordings". ChartAttack. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 

External links[edit]