Following the passing of founding member Paul Kossoff, the remaining members of the band Back Street Crawler(John 'Rabbit' Bundrick, Tony Braunagel, Terry Wilson and Terry Wilson-Slesser) decided that it would be best to move on to both another record label and another manager.
Atlantic Record's Ahmet Ertegun had wanted to replace Paul Kossoff with Mick Taylor, who had left the Rolling Stones. Taylor did not want to replace another musician who had died. Back Steet Crawler bassist Terry Wilson had dinner with ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green in London to see if Peter's reclusive and unusual life style had changed his mind about wanting to play or be in the music business. Green was not ready to return to the stage yet and turned down Crawler's offer. The band then recruited former If guitarist Geoff Whitehorn. The band was thereafter dropped by Atlantic Records, due to Whitehorn's then relative obscurity. In addition, the label's primary interest had been in Kossoff, rather than the band.
The band switched management to a young American named Abe Hoch, who was working at Swan Song Records at the time with Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant. Hoch had close ties with Epic/CBS Records and obtained an offer from them. Band members then shortened the band name to Crawler.
Crawler initially toured the UK as part of a package tour which included label mates Boxer and Moon. Their debut album, Crawler, did well in the USA, thanks to airplay of the track "Stone Cold Sober", on FM radio stations. The band concentrated on the American market. Working with producer Gary Lyons, they released a second album, Snake, Rattle & Roll.
An exhaustive series of live performances found Crawler as support band for Robin Trower, Cheap Trick, and Foreigner and a 54-date tour across the USA as support band for Kansas. At the end of a USA tour in December 1978, keyboard player John 'Rabbit' Bundrick left to work with The Who. The band folded soon after.
In recent years, a number of live albums, including Snakebite (2001) and Pastime Dreamer (2003), recorded during tours in 1977 and 1978, have been released from John Bundrick's private collection of recordings.