Originally known as the Rogues, Canadian quintet Mandala were led by Italian-born Domenic Troiano, and quickly became known as one of the hottest bands on the Toronto R&B scene in the '60s. The group featured Troiano on guitar, keyboardist Josef Chirowski, Don Elliot on bass, vocalistGeorge Olliver, and drummer Whitey Glan. Famous for their blistering live performances, Mandala's unique sound blended elements of soul, funk, R&B, and psychedelic rock, delivered with an aggressive attack. On-stage, the group always provided a memorable experience, with strobe lights and bandmembers in matching suits, encouraging crowd participation akin to a religious revival.
After making the rounds in the Toronto area, the band began playing shows in the U.S., making several high-profile appearances in Los Angeles and New York. In late 1966, they signed a deal with KR Records and recorded their first single, "Opportunity," at Chess Studios in Chicago. The Troiano-penned cut became a Top Ten hit in Canada and was swiftly followed by "Give and Take," issued in May 1967. Despite the band's rapidly rising stardom, Olliver left Mandala in mid-1967 and was shortly followed by Chirowski, who went on to play with Alice Cooper and later appeared on several Peter Gabriel albums. They were replaced by vocalist Roy Kenner, a friend of Troiano's, and Henry Babraj, both from R.K. & the Associates. Mandala soldiered on, prepping material for their debut album and touring the U.S. and Canada. Record exec Ahmet Ertegun soon discovered the band and liked what he heard, signing Mandala to Atlantic. Before long, Henry Babraj was out of the band, and Hugh Sullivan was recruited as Mandala's new keyboard player.