Crawler was the core of a backing band formed in 1973 by Free founding member and guitarist, Paul Kossoff. Kossoff had recorded and released a solo album under the name Back Street Crawler, and in 1973 he released an album by the same name. When it became apparent he would have to tour to support it, he formed a backing band and took to the road.

Back Street Crawler made two albums with Kossoff—The Band Plays On in 1975, and Second Street in 1976. Upon completion of the second album, on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, Kossoff suffered a massive heart attack and died on the plane. His death was ruled a heart attack, but it is generally believed it had been brought on by a long history of drug use.

Since Kossoff was not really a household name and since he did not sing in the band, both the band and the management were determined to keep the project afloat. They shortened the name to Crawler, changed a few members, and re-emerged with former IF guitarist, Geoff Whitehorn. Atlantic Records, in the end, dropped the band because they felt it only had legs with Kossoff on board. With help from noted producer Gary Lyons, they inked with Epic Records. Epic was hoping their traditional British blues-rock sound would be a big hit with audiences that were still strong on bands like Foreigner and AC/DC.

The group had enough inertia to do one more record (Snake Rattle & Roll) before breaking up in December 1978 when keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick left to work with the Who. The remaining members have gone on to work with Procol Harum, Free, Charlie, Roger Waters, and Bette Midler, among others.

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