The Normal's icy, monochromatic 1978 single "Warm Leatherette" was inspired by J.G. Ballard's controversial novel Crash, which presents a subculture that fetishizes car crashes in disturbing, erotic detail. Like the book, the song wraps its lurid, subversive sentiments in clinical, detached terms. A relentless drum machine and hissing synths accompany lyrics like, "A tear of petrol is in your eye/The hand brake penetrates your thigh/Quick, let's make love," which are made all the creepier by Daniel Miller's deadpan delivery. Miller, the Normal's sole member, also founded Mute Records; "Warm Leatherette" was the label's debut single and the Normal's first and only official release (although Live at the West Runton Pavilion (6/3/79), a rare, one-sided live album with Robert Rental released by Rough Trade, does exist). An adaptation of sorts itself, "Warm Leatherette" was covered by industrial artists such as Pankow and Sleep Chamber as well as by Grace Jones, who made it the title track of her 1980 album. But it's Miller's original, dispassionate study of twisted metal and passions that remains a classic and a milestone in the development of post-punk, new wave, and electronic music -- all of which his label championed in the '70s, '80s,'90s and beyond.