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College friends Cy Curnin on vocals and Adam Woods on drums formed the group in London in 1979, initially calling themselves Portraits. The pair placed an ad for additional members, and recruited keyboardist Rupert Greenall, guitarist Tony McGrail and bassist Russell Mckenzie later to be replaced by Charlie Barrett. Portraits issued two singles for Ariola Records: "Little Women" (1979), and "Hazards In The Home" (1980).

Later in 1980, McGrail left. At this point, the band added guitarist Jamie West-Oram (formerly of Phillip Rambow's band) and changed their name to The Fix. This version of the band recorded for 101 Records, releasing their first single ("Lost Planes") in February 1981. This track, along with several live tracks issued by 101 on various compilations, received some radio exposure on the BBC. In these early days West-Oram was billed simply as 'Jamie West'.

The Fix's raised profile eventually led to the group being offered a contract by MCA Records. Worried about the potential drug-user implication of the band's name, MCA insisted on a name change before signing them to the label. A compromise was reached as the band altered the spelling of their name to The Fixx, and a deal was duly inked.

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