Detroit’s leading pop funk surrealists Was (Not Was) initially came to prominence through their association with New York “mutant disco” label ZE Records, and rather like ZE’s other big stars Kid Creole and the Coconuts, while they’ve always been critical darlings, their invention and satirical edge has often led the wider public to perceive them as the wrong kind of novelty. But that’s the general public for you.
1980 debut single “Wheel Me Out” actually pre-dates their association with ZE, coming out on Island Records’ Antilles imprint, but it definitely sets the trend for their future career, setting down a solid disco-funk groove with weird spoken lyrics on top, and a typically eclectic mix of guest performers, from David Was‘s mum Elizabeth Weiss on vocals to top session guitarist Bruce Nazarian and veteran jazz trumpter Marcus Belgrave.
And of course you get the B side as well. Though personally I prefer the very different “short version” of “Hello Operator” that came out years later on the “Listen Like Thieves” CD single… that’s right, they covered an INXS song, but that’s for another time, maybe.