Formed by Sheila McCartney (vocals, percussion), John Lovering (guitar), Owen Hughes (drums), Tony Travis (bass, vocals), and Jeff Taylor (wind), Fay Ray debuted in 1980 with the 7" single "Family Affairs" and three live tracks on the compilation 101 Live Letters. Named after famous photographer William Wegman's dog, Fay Ray faded into obscurity after its record label locked its second LP in the vault, refusing to release it once the group was dropped.
McCartney's voice resembled Siouxsie Sioux's, but Fay Ray had a more accessible pop sound than its post-punk peers. The group filmed two videos, "Modern Lovers" and "Heatwave" that received some airplay during MTV's early years and were revived by VH1 Classic in 2002.
The band was never able to catapult itself from its small cult following to a mainstream audience. Its 1982 debut album, 'Contact You', was a flop. Signed to Elektra Records, Fay Ray had just finished recording its follow-up when the company pulled the plug and kept the masters. Disillusioned, the group broke up. Interest in Fay Ray was revived when the band's records were discovered in used music stores by new wave collectors and shared via mp3 format over the Internet. However, the band's entire discography remained unreleased on CD.