Vocalists Max Pezzali and Mauro Repetto, friends since their school days, formed a band after appearing as regulars on the Italian television show 1,2,3 Jovanotti. They recorded several demos during 1991 and sent them to producer Claudio Cecchetto, who had also worked on the show. He enjoyed the song "Non Me la Menare" especially, and when released as a single, it pushed their debut album, Hanno Ucciso l'Uomo Ragno, to number one on the Italian charts. From their second album, Nord Sud Ovest Est, the singles "Sei un Mito" and "Come Mai" became number one hits. Repetto left the group just after the release of third album La Donna, il Sogno & il Grande Incubo to pursue a career in Hollywood, and Pezzali recruited a more live-oriented group to back him. The fourth overall 883 album, 1997's La Dura Legge del Gol!, featured the single "Un Giorno Così," another number one single in Italy. Pezzali then began working on a feature film concerning the group, Jolly Blu, released in February 1998. 883 then issued Gli Anni, a greatest-hits compilation, Grazie Mille, and Uno in Piu' before Pezzali decided to break from the group and go solo.