Paul Atkinson was born in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, and educated at St Albans School. At St Albans, Atkinson met Rod Argent and Hugh Grundy, and the three formed a band initially called the Mustangs. Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined the new band in early 1961, but Arnold soon left and was replaced by Chris White. After the group won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Argent's song "She's Not There" got them a deal with Decca and was a hit in the UK and US. The group continued to record successfully through the 1960s, but disbanded in December of 1967, reportedly over management disagreements.