Sniff 'n' the Tears emerged from the remnants of the little-known Ashes of Moon, which disbanded in 1974 after failing to stir up much label interest. The individual members of the band scattered during the mid-'70s, with frontman Paul Roberts turning his attention to painting; however, following the ascendance of the new wave, drummer Luigi Salvoni convinced Roberts to re-form the group with guitarists Mick Dyche and Loz Netto, bassist Nick South, and keyboardist Keith Miller, and in 1978, the newly christened Sniff 'n' the Tears began shopping their demo. Chiswick signed the band and issued its debut album, Fickle Heart, that summer, with the single "Driver's Seat" becoming a major hit in the U.S. The Game's Up appeared in 1980, but failed to make much of a commercial impact; when 1981's Love Action and the following year's Ride Blue Divide met a similar fate, Sniff 'n' the Tears disbanded. In the wake of "Driver's Seat" experiencing a commercial-driven revival in 1992, Roberts assembled a new lineup of Sniff 'n' the Tears for a European tour and a new album, No Damage Done. Roberts continued under the moniker Sniff 'n' the Tears for 2001's Underground, then he retired the band for another decade before reconvening a new lineup for 2011's Downstream.