Bobby & The Midnites was one of a few solo band projects that Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir kept going throughout nearly all of the 1980s. The original version featured Weir, guitarist Bobby Cochran, harmonica player Matt Kelly (who created Kingfish, a band Weir had played in during the '70s), Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland, bassist Tim Bogart (who had been in Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, and Beck Bogart & Appice), and Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer, Billy Cobham. By 1982, Kelly, Mydland, and Bogart had left and were replaced by keyboardist/saxophonist Dave Garland and jazz bassist Alphonso Johnson. The group had signed with Arista Records, and its debut album, simply entitled Bobby & The Midnites, immediately charted upon its release in November, 1981.
The best of all the vocalists in the Grateful Dead, Weir contributed some of that band's most radio-friendly material. The same was true for Bobby & The Midnites, which appeared to be an attempt to take the success of the Dead and cross it over to a much wider commercial audience.
The fact that the Dead members all had solo project outlets is one of the reasons why the band endured for so long. But, once the initial blast of touring and recognition were over, the band members would all return to their other, more established careers and bands, causing Bobby & The Midnites to go kaput.