In 1973, vocalist/guitarist Adrian Borland and school friends Adrian "Jan" Janes and Bob Lawrence had performed as Syndrome. The band played few gigs and primarily focused on recording their music onto cassettes at home. The band eventually changed their name to The Outsiders, and played gigs at The Roxy with bands such as Generation X, The Jam and The Vibrators.
Borland designed the album cover for Calling on Youth as well as coming up with the name for the album's record label, Raw Edge. Calling on Youth was mainly recorded in the Borland family home from August to September 1976. engineering was handled by Adrian's father, Bob. Further tracks were recorded or re-recorded in early 1977 at Pathway Studios.
Released in May 1977, Calling on Youth is considered by some to be the first punk LP independently issued in Britain. The record label on which the album was released, Raw Edge, was set up by frontman Adrian Borland's parents. Not all the costs of producing the album were recouped.