Retro-rocker Ben Vaughn attracted attention for his faithful re-creations of pre-Beatles rock & roll, pop, and roots music, all of which were filtered through his quirky sense of humor. Vaughn grew up in Philadelphia and played drums in the local punk band the Sickidz in 1980. Two years later, roots rockers the Morells recorded his composition "The Man Who Has Everything" on their acclaimed Shake and Push album. Vaughn began playing around Philadelphia with a band dubbed the Ben Vaughn Combo, gradually branching out into other parts of the Northeast. His first album, The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn, was released in 1986 on the U.K. imprint Making Waves and shortly thereafter was licensed for American release by Restless. It received enthusiastic reviews, and Marshall Crenshaw covered its "I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)" on his Downtown album. The follow-up, Beautiful Thing, appeared in 1987, again to positive response, and Vaughn signed a permanent deal with Restless; after its release, the Combo elected to disband, and Vaughn became a true solo artist. Blows Your Mind was released in 1988, and its 1990 follow-up, Dressed in Black, featured guest appearances by Crenshaw, John Hiatt, the Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano, Alex Chilton, and country duo Foster & Lloyd.