Fleetwood, England's One Way System formed in 1979 and shuffled through several differing lineups before settling into the quartet that would enable the band's first life. Vocalist Gavin Whyte, guitarist Dave Ross, bassist Gaz Buckley, and drummer Tom Couch found their first minor break in 1981 when No Future Records released their song "Jerusalem" on the compilation A Country Fit for Heroes, which helped get the group's debut EP, Stab the Judge, released on the Beat the System imprint shortly afterwards. They didn't release a full-length until 1983, when they moved over to Anagram Records. Anagram released All Systems Go on the strength of the single "Give Us a Future" and then followed it with another full-length (also in 1983), The Writing on the Wall. One Way System then released another EP, titled Visions of Angels (1984), which brought hopes of a U.S. tour with the band slated to open for legendary L.A. punks the Circle Jerks.
Unfortunately, the Circle Jerks' vocalist, Keith Morris, broke his neck just before the onset of the planned tour, and the shows were canceled. One Way System played two shows in the States in lieu of the unrealized tour before deciding to head home and call it quits. Ten years later, in 1994, the punk rock reissue specialists Captain Oi! re-released their two full-length albums, followed by Anagram releasing a best-of in 1995, which prompted a reunion. After the reunion, both Buckley and Whyte chose to move on and were replaced by bassist Andy Wilkinson and vocalist Lee Havok, respectively, and the new quartet recorded some new material for a couple of different labels followed by a tour of Japan in 1997.