After the success of his previous album, 1975's Blow by Blow, Beck retained two of its key contributors for the follow-up, keyboardist Max Middleton and producer George Martin. Beck had also begun a musical relationship with former Mahavishnu Orchestra keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Narada Michael Walden; Beck would tour with the Jan Hammer Group after these sessions. The result of the interplay between Beck and Hammer was a more "synthesized" sound than that of Blow by Blow, hence the new album's title, Wired..
Although the band from the previous album appears on some tracks, four are originals by Walden and one by Hammer. Middleton contributed the homage to Led Zeppelin, "Led Boots," and Beck chose to interpret the Charles Mingus ode to saxophonist Lester Young, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," from the classic jazz album Mingus Ah Um. These last two tracks have been long-time staples of Beck's performance repertoire.
Wired received mostly positive reviews when it was released. In Rolling Stone, the reviewer cited it as being full of "fire and imagination". However, Robert Christgau faulted it as technically proficient but soulless, calling it "mindless trickery". Engineer Peter Henderson later said of the album, "I listened to that a few years later and it sounded like it had been recorded direct to cassette. I don't think it was one of my finer moments."
Writing for AllMusic, Mark Kirschenmann said: "Within a two-year span, the twin towers Blow by Blow and Wired set a standard for instrumental rock that even Beck has found difficult to match. On Wired, with first-rate material and collaborators on hand, one of rock's most compelling guitarists is in top form."