The band was formed in 1979 by school friends Steven ('Steve') Kent (guitar), Michael Fitzsimons ('Micky Fitz') (vocals), Nicholas ('Nick') Cunningham (drums) and Martin Smith (bass). They played their first gig in front of friends in February 1980, and after taking on Lol Pryor as manager, began performing more often. The band's first release was the song "Out in the Cold" on the A Sudden Surge of Sound compilation album. They played their first Oi! concert in 1981, supporting The 4-Skins, and they became closely associated with the Oi! scene from then on. While the Oi! movement was labelled as far right and racist (despite the fact that several Oi! bands played at Rock Against Racism concerts), The Business took a stance against political extremism with their Oi Against Racism and Political Extremism ...But Still Against The System tour.
In November 1981, they released their debut single, "Harry May", which spent over three months in the UK Indie Chart, reaching No. 13. The initial line-up split up in late 1981, with Kent, Cunningham, and Smith forming Q-Bow, but Fitz carried on with Pryor, recruiting Graham Ball on guitar, Mark Brennan and Steve Whale from The Blackout, and John Fisher on drums. The new line-up made their live debut in January 1982, after which Ball and Fisher departed, leaving the band as a four-piece, with Kev Boyce of The Blackout on drums. The new line-up recorded the Smash the Discos EP, which was a No. 3 indie hit, and after a short tour, they recorded their debut album, which was to be called Loud, Proud, and Punk. The master tapes for the album went missing after disagreements between the band's label and the studio, forcing them to re-record the album, which was released as Suburban Rebels in May 1983. The album was remixed by their label, Secret, without them knowing, and Secret's financial difficulties limited promotion of the album. Frustrated by this, the band split up, with The Business members forming short-lived bands Chapter and Sabre Dance.
Pryor issued a retrospective album consisting of demos and live tracks on his Syndicate label, the success of which prompted the band to reform and record a what was to be marketed as a live album, Loud, Proud, and Punk. It was actually recorded in a studio, with crowd noise dubbed in later. Pryor renamed his record label Wonderful World and issued several Business albums in late 1985, with the Drinking and Driving tour following. The name of the tour caused controversy, with tabloid journalists accusing the band of condoning drunk-driving, although the title was tongue-in-cheek.
In late 1986, Brennan and Pryor founded Link Records, and with Brennan becoming increasingly busy running the label, the band split up again. In 1992, Fitz performed a few songs guesting with The Elite and he reformed the band to play a benefit concert for Bobby Moore, who had recently died of cancer. Brennan later started a new record label, Captain Oi! Records and did not join the reformed band. The band's line-up then became Micky Fitz (singer), Steve Whale (guitar), Lol Proctor (bass) and Micky Fairbairn (drums). The band released a new single "Anywhere But Here" and new album Keep The Faith in 1994. After a number of tours in Western Europe, the band played their first gigs in America in August 1994. In 1997 The Business released The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth which was produced by Lars Frederiksen from Rancid. In 2000, the band joined together with Dropkick Murphys to release Mob Mentality. The band's final studio album, No Mercy For You was released in 2001. Their biggest hit song in recent times, "England 5 - Germany 1", (based on the result of a World Cup Qualifying match in 2001), became a football anthem for England and even appeared in the 2004 teen comedy EuroTrip. Despite various line up changes, the band's popularity continued to grow with regular tours of America, West Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East. The band performed their final show in January 2016 in New Orleans, LA.
In late 2015, Micky Fitz was diagnosed with cancer on the lymph gland and underwent radiotherapy. On 1 December 2016 it was announced that Fitz had died.
Chart placings shown are from the UK Indie Chart.
Suburban Rebels1983Secret Records
Saturday's Heroes1985Harry May
Welcome To The Real World1988Link
Keep The Faith1994Century Media
The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth1997Taang! Records
No Mercy For You 2001Burning Heart Records
"Harry May"1981SecretCharted #13
Smash the Discos EP1982SecretCharted #3
"Out of Business"1983Secret(withdrawn)
"Get Out of My House"1985Wonderful World
"Drinking and Driving"1985DiamondCharted #27
"Do a Runner"1988Link
"Anywhere But Here"1994Walzwerk
"Death II Dance"1996Taang!
"One Common Voice"1997Taang!
"Hell 2 Pay"2002TKO Records
Mean Girl EP2008Bad Dog
Back In The Day EP2014Sailor's Grave
1980-81 - Official Bootleg1983SyndicateCharted #17
Loud, Proud & Punk - Live1984SyndicateCharted #22
Back To Back1985Wonderful World
Back To Back Volume 21985Wonderful World
Live & Loud1989Link
In and Out of Business1990Link(mail-order only, reissued on CD 1998 by Mog)
The Business 1979-19891991Blackout Records
The Best of The Business: 28 Classic Oi Anthems...1992Link
The Complete Business Singles Collection1995Anagram
Harry May - The Singles Collection1996Taang!
Loud, Proud and Oi!1996Dojo Records
The Business Live1998Pinhead Records
Mob Mentality2000Taang!(split with Dropkick Murphys)
Hardcore Hooligan2003Burning Heart
Under The Influence2003Rhythm Vicar
Doing The Business2010Sailor's Grave
A Sudden Surge of Sound LP (1980) VU
Carry On Oi! LP (1981) Secret
Oi! Oi! That's Yer Lot! LP (1982) Secret
The Secret Life Of Punks LP (1982) Secret
Burning Ambitions: A History Of Punk 2 X LP (1982) Cherry Red
UK/DK LP (1982) Anagram
Defiant Pose LP (1983) Illegal
Son Of Oi! LP (1984) Syndicate
Oi! The Resurrection LP (1987) Link
Oi! Chartbusters Volume 1 LP (1987) Link
Oi! Chartbusters Volume 2 LP (1987) Link
The Sound Of Oi! (1987) Link
Oi!..The Picture Disc LP (1987) Link
Oi! Chartbusters Volume 2 LP (1987) Link
Oi! Chartbusters Volume 3 LP (1988) Link
Oi!..The Picture Disc Volume 2 LP (1988) Link
Oi!..That's What I Call Music LP (1988) Link
Oi!..The Main Event LP (1988) Link
Oi! Chartbusters Volume 4 LP (1988) Link
Oi! Chartbusters Volume 5 LP (1989) Link
Pop Oi! LP (1989) Link
Oi! Chartbusters Volume 6 LP (1990) Link
Punk On The Road LP (1990) Skunx
The Oddities Of Oi! LP (1991) Link
Heroes And Villains LP (1996) Step-1
Oi! It's A World League LP (1193) Havin' a Laugh
Nobody's Heroes (1993) Castle Communications
The Punk Generation (1993) Castle Communications
The Voice Of The Street (1995) Pub City Royal
Kill Your Radio (IRS, 1995)
The Punk Rockers (Castle Communications, 1995)
The Best Of Oi! LP (1996) Dojo
Secret Records - The Punk Singles Collection Volume 1 LP (1996) Captain Oi!
Punk & Nasty (1996) Emporio
Real Punk - The Nasty Years (1996) Cleopatra
England's Glory (1996) Cherry Red
Punk Crazy (1996) Castle Pulse
Anarchy From The UK - Volume 1 (1996) Dojo
Secret Records - The Punk Singles Collection Volume 2 LP (1996) Captain Oi!
The Great British Punk Rock Explosion LP (1996) Dojo
Trouble On The Terraces LP (1996) Step-1
The Best Of Oi! LP (1996) Dojo
Punk & Disorderly LP (1996) Step-1
Tribute To The Smiths (1996) Too Damn Hype
Forever Blowing Bubbles (1996) Cherry Red
Punk Power (1996) Emporio
On The Streets (1997) We Bite
Give 'Em The Boot (1997) Hellcat
Oi! The Tine (1997) Harry May
Box Or be Boxed (1997) Lonsdale
Down To Margate (1997) Harry May
100% British Oi! (1998) Captain Oi!
Cheap Shots III (1998) Burning Heart
Lords Of Oi! (1998) Dressed To Kill
Live Hate (1998) Music Collection
The World Of Football - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Of World Football (1998) Charlton
Scene Killer Volume 1 (1998) Outsider
Around The World In 80 Minutes (1999) Rotten
The Greatest Punk Of All Time (1999) Dressed To Kill
Punk (1999) Pegasus
Oi! This Is England (2000) Dressed To Kill
Cheap Shots IV (2000) Burning Heart
The Worldwide Tribute To Real Oi! (2000) I Scream
Spirit Of The Street (2000) Burning Heart
Complete Burning Ambitions - A History Of Punk (2001) Cleopatra
Punk-O-Rama 6 (2001) Epitaph
Cheap Shots V (2001) Burning Heart
Cash From Chaos - Complete Punk Collection (2001) EMI
Without Warning - It's Punch Drunk IV (2002) TKO
Addicted To Oi! (2002) Captain Oi!
Riot (2003) Hepcat
The Kings Of Street Punk (2007) G&R
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