999 formed in London in May 1977. Led by vocalist/guitarist Nick Cash – a onetime student at the Canterbury College of Art under the tutelage of Ian Dury and a former member of the pub-rock unit Kilburn and the High Roads – the band very quickly established themselves as a popular fixture on the London punk circuit, issuing their debut single I’m Alive on their own label in late 1977.
The single won the band a deal with United Artists, which issued both Nasty Nasty and Emergency in 1978. An eponymous LP debut followed later in the year.
Some great singles followed, including Homicide and High Energy Plan, and a US tour preceded the release of 1980’s The Biggest Prize in Sport, accompanied by an EP entitled The Biggest Tour in Sport which featured material recorded live during the American dates.
The 1981 album Concrete featured covers of Little Red Riding Hood and Fortune Teller – an indication that the group’s creativity was running dry.
1983’s 13th Floor Madness was universally panned for its disco grooves, although 1985’s self-released Face to Face was acclaimed as a return to form.
At the end of the year, Watson left the band and was replaced by bassist Danny Palmer in time to record 1987’s Lust, Power and Money, a live set recorded in London. 999 broke up shortly after.