Named partially for their post-WWII-constructed hometown of Harlow, just north of London in Essex, the Newtown Neurotics began as an energetic, politically motivated Ramones-influenced trio. Vocalist/guitarist Steve Drewett's socialist lyrics were originally backed by bassist Colin Dredd and drummer Tiggy Barber; Barber departed after the self-released singles "Hypocrite" (1979) and "When the Oil Runs Out" (1980), and was replaced by Simon Lomond.

After two more singles on CNT in 1982 ("Kick Out the Tories" and "Licensing Hours"), the band signed with Razor and released its debut album, Beggars Can Be Choosers, which was accompanied by the single "Blitzkrieg Bob," a recasting of the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" with new lyrics about wartime bombings. The association was short-lived, however; the band soon returned to their own No Wonder label, released another modified Ramonescover ("Suzie Is a Heartbreaker"), and chose to revamp their sound.

They re-emerged on the Jungle label in 1986 with the album Repercussions as simply the Neurotics, adopting a Style Council-esque approach of political lyrics (in this case, mostly about the British miners' strike) combined with horn-driven post-punk R&B. The album contained the single "Living With Unemployment," a rewrite of the Members' "Solitary Confinement" that proved to be one of their most popular numbers. 1987's Kickstarting a Backfiring Nation contained ranting monologues by a number of guests the Neurotics had become acquainted with on the poetry reading scene, including Porky the Poet and Attila the Stockbroker. 1988 saw the release of Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks and the Never Thought EP, but bassist Dredd contracted pleurisy (a respiratory ailment) in October, and the Neurotics disbanded.

They held a series of three-hour farewell concerts with a friend filling in on bass, eventually playing every song in their discography. Most of their early non-LP singles were released in 1990 on the compilation 45 Revolutions a Minute: Singles 1979-1984, and a more complete overview, Newtown Neurotics: The Punk Singles Collection, appeared on Anagram in 1997. Drewett went on to form the Unstoppable Beat with Mac. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide