Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson were cousins from Holly Springs, Mississippi, who traveled to Chicago where they were discovered by Gene Chandler. Hardin's mother and McPherson's aunt, Yolanda Hardin, helped the duo with their publicity, as she was once a singer herself. She signed them to a recording contract with her Bamboo Records record label, and they recorded their own song, "Backfield in Motion". It was immediately successful, reaching #3 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart and #10 in the pop equivalent in 1969. Their follow-up song was "Good Guys Only Win in the Movies", which was also the name of their first album.
Hardin and McPherson subsequently moved to the Stax label, where they recorded a second Top 5 R&B hit with the ballad "Starting All Over Again". Released in the U.S. in June 1972, this also climbed to #16 on the Hot 100, and stayed in that chart for 22 weeks. It was their second million seller, taking five months to shift that number of gramophone records. This was also the title track of their second album in 1972, recorded in Muscle Shoals and produced by Phillip Mitchell. They performed at the Wattstax charity concert that year, but later recordings could not repeat their earlier successes.