The group originally consisted of lead vocalist/keyboardist/occasional rhythm guitarist Melvin Riley with Gordon Strozier (lead guitar), Gregory Potts (keyboards), Willie Triplett (percussion/keyboards), John Eaton (bass guitar), and Gerald Valentine (drums). They had performed throughout Flint at high school talent shows and were discovered by WJLB Detroit Radio personality The Electrifying Mojo in 1982. They gained regional fame with their first release “Tonight” in 1983. “Tonight” was an underground hit in Flint and Detroit which helped garner them national prominence shortly after their signing under the MCA label. Ready for the World recorded their album Ready for the World during 1984 in Flint, Michigan under the production of Bernard Terry and recording engineer Charles Brown, Jr.
In 1985, the band signs to the Steven Machat-Rick Smith management company AMI, the agreement with MCA are redrawn and promotion and marketing dollars is committed to break the group. This Machat and Smith do as the two men steer the group to number one on the US pop charts as well as top five in all the Western European countries and Australia as well, with their best-known hit “Oh Sheila,”. This song in the US went to number one on the R&B, Pop Charts, and the Hot Dance Club Play charts that year, becoming the first ever single to hold the number one spot on all three of these charts simultaneously.