Exploited was founded by 'Big John' Duncan (guitar/vocals), Wattie Buchan (vocals), Gary McCormick (ex-Josef K.; bass/vocals), and Dru Stix (Real Name: Drew Campbell; drums/vocals), they released three independent maxi-single releases in 1980 titled Army Life, Exploited Army and Extracts From An Edinburgh Nite Club EP, as well as a group of three chord Punk/Oi anthems featuring anti-establishment lyrics (Maggie Thatcher was a favourite punching bag), and warp speed playing.In 1981 they had a minor break out with the single Dogs Of War on the 'Secret' label. The remaining barrage of two-minute noise blasts were featured on the follow-up album Punk's Not Dead (1981), a kind of battle cry for the coloured Mohawk hairdo fetishists that amazingly made it to top 20 to become their slogan. It was followed by the amazing feat of the top 30 hit single Dead Cities. A poor live set called Exploited Live-On Stage, and a shared EP with fellow Oi purveyors Anti-Pasti titled Don't Let 'Em Grind You Down, as well as a top 50 hit single, titled Attack, followed.
A new proper album titled Troops Of Tomorrow would come in 1982 and followed its predecessor into the top 20, featuring their infamous tribute to Punk hero Sid Vicious, titled Sid Vicious Was Innocent.
'Big John' left in 1982 to form Blood Uncles before joining Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie, and was replaced by Billy Dunn (ex-Skroteez).
Let's Start A War (Said Maggie One Day), inspired by the Falkland Island conflict, came in 1983. It marked the beginning of the creative end for these guys, with a series of flop releases and personnel changes following. Deptford John replaced Wayne, while Mad Mick replaced Egghead. Stix struggled with drug addiction and was sentenced to 7 years for armed robbery, while McCormick formed Zulu Syndicate.
Horror Epics (1985) used sub standard Heavy Metal to flog their points of view, while Death Before Dishonour (1986) didn't manage to chart either. By the time The Massacre came in 1990, the line-up was in flux again with Wattie on vocals, Smegs (bass), Gogs (guitar) and Tony (drums). The album gave them minor press coverage, mostly for their statement against the proposed "poll tax" mused by the Maggie Thatcher government (the issue would polarize Britain and be a key factor in the demise of Thatcher from power in the next election). But by now their albums were predictable, leaving only their hairdos and clothing, a throwback to the original '70's Punk movement, as inspirational. Beat The Bastards (1996), with the line-up of Wattie (vocals), Arthur (guitar), Billy (bass) and Mullie (drums), was no exception. Fuck the System would follow in 2003.