The Passengers were born from the Sydney inner city punk culture in 1979 following the demise of Radio Birdman. The band members met during 1976-78 as friends and fans of Radio Birdman in Sydney. The band was formed in late 1978 and performed together for one year. In October, 1979, an eight track demo was recorded at Palms Studio in Sydney.
They were the first band released by Phantom Records. The Phantom label began some time after the shop with a single by the Passengers in early 1980.
Among the many bands who blazed bright in the post apocalyptic era at the turn of the decade, The Passengers stood alone. Their music was compelling and different, and their following was fanatically dedicated.
Taking their name from an Iggy Pop song, the band was fronted by Angie Pepper, and also included former Survivor and future New Christ Jim Dickson on bass, with Jeff Sullivan (later of the Flaming Hands) on guitar and Steve Harris on keyboards.
Peppers vocals and the sixties girl-group nature of the lyrics made an instant comparison to Blondie inevitable, but Harris electric piano sound was substantially different from Blondie's approach.