Q-Tips were an English blue-eyed soul and new wave rock band, first formed in 1979 from the remnants of the 1970s rock outfit Streetband. Saddled with the novelty song "Toast", a B-side made successful from heavy airplay by Capital Radio's’s Kenny Everett, Streetband had failed to find any commercial success with their two albums. Drummer Chalky and guitarist Roger Kelly departed, leaving the remaining trio of Paul Young on vocals, Mick Pearl on bass guitar, and guitarist John Gifford.
The ex-Streetbanders added new recruits Dave Lathwell on guitar and Baz Watts on drums. In addition, a four piece brass section was created by Steve Farr (baritone saxophone), Richard Blanchchard (tenor saxophone), Oscar Stuart Blandamer (alto saxophone) and Tony Hughes (trumpet) who all hailed from the North London and Hertfordshire area, while organist Ian Kewley lived in Essex. Q-Tips' name derived from a well-known brand of cotton swab.
Q-Tips' first rehearsals took place in November 1979. Their first gig was on 18 November 1979 at the Queens Arms Hotel in Harrow. This was followed by another at the Horn of Plenty in St Albans - a regular gig for Streetband during 1978 - and a total of sixteen in their first month of existence. Some personnel changes occurred during the first six months, with Blanchard's departure leaving a three-piece brass section, and Lathwell also leaving the band.