The Colors formed in 1978 when New Yorkers Tommy Cookman (vocals) and Paul Sass (guitar) began playing together on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They were joined in early 1979 by Australian bassist Robert Vickers who was traveling in the US.
Their first shows were at a small but now legendary Soho club called Tier 3. Soon after they asked neighbor Ed East to play drums and built a rehearsal room in his storefront on Rivington Street. Around this time Paul appeared in the Robert Stigwood flop turned cult classic, 'Times Square'. After a playing only a few shows The Colors signed a management deal with CBGB's owner Hilly Krystal and became the house band there, opening for people like John Cale and Levi and The Rockats and even headlining weekend shows. Tracks were recorded for ‘Live at CBGBs Vol. II' but the album was never released. Instead they signed with local indie label, Infinite Records. Clem Burke of Blondie, an early supporter, agreed to produce.
At this point the relationship with Hilly Krystal was dissolved and Ed East left the band. Clem Burke stepped in play drums with them, live and on the record, and took over management. A second guitarist, Charly Pip, was also added to form a dynamic lineup. The EP, ‘Rave It Up' was recorded at Electric Lady studios with Jay Burnett (Planet Rock) engineering, and released in 1980. Many great shows followed, opening for The Undertones, Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Bay City Rollers, The Plasmatics, etc. The Colors built a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase in New York and ventured out to Boston and Philly. Despite this being pre-MTV, two videos were made for the EP. Produced by Ed Steinberg of Rock America, Diane Harvey directed both. Three graffiti artists were hired to do a backdrop for the party scenes in the videos. One of them, ‘Samo' under his real name, Jean-Michel Basiquat, later became an internationally renowned artist.

A new drummer, known as The Elf, was recruited and The Colors began doing cable TV shows such as The Uncle Floyd Show and New York Dancestand as well as interviews on the fledgling local college circuit. They played Chicago, regularly toured the East Coast and ventured deep into New Jersey. They also began working on an album for Infinite, recorded at Intergalactic Studios in New York with the same production team. A song was even written for them by a member of the Bay City Rollers and recorded during these sessions. The album was finished late in 1981 but Infinite folded, leaving the band without a label.
In early 1982 primary songwriter Paul Sass left the band. Even though the owner of the Dirt Club in Bloomfield, NJ stepped in to release the album, ‘The Colors' on Dirt Records, Robert Vickers left the band at the end of the year to join Australian band The Go-Betweens. The final breakup occurred early in 1983 around the time of the release of the album. Two musicians who stood in on guitar in 1982 were Ramones producer, Danny Ray and Peter Milton Walsh of the Apartments.