The O’Jays got together in Canton, Ohio in 1958. They took their name from Cleveland DJ Eddy O’Jay. Originally a quintet, they recorded their first single, "Lonely Drifter," in 1963. They did well on the R&B chart, reaching the Top 10 in 1968 with "I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow."
By 1972, despite the success they had as a live group and on the charts, they were considering leaving the music business. Original members Bill Isles and Bobby Massey departed, leaving the trio of Eddie Levert, Walter Lee Williams, and William Powell. They eventually signed with Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International records, and they began to experience better success.
"Back Stabbers" was their first single for their new label, and with better backing it reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart, as well as #14 in the UK, and was certified Gold that year by RIAA. It was the title track for their first PI album. MFSB provided the horn section for the record. More on them later.