Nick Crowther (guitar, vocals), Chris Matthews (drums) and Kevin Howlett (bass) had all played in garage bands prior to the Prime Movers. They rehearsed for two weeks and then played nine songs at a local dance. The "riotous reaction" encouraged them to enter the 1981 Battle of the Bands. Although it was only their second gig, they made it into the finals.
In January 1982 they recorded 'Circles' for the Furtive Four EP with Chris Matthews still on drums. He then left to form Children's Hour. In March Ben Staples from the Newmatics joined on drums. Marc Clare, also from the Newmatics, became manager of the Prime Movers.
The Furtive Four vinyl compilation was released in June 1982 and the Prime Movers toured with Bongos, The Dabs and The Skeptics to promote the EP. The tour started with a Thursday June 3 to Saturday June 5 run at Auckland's Mainstreet and ended at the same venue with an underage dance on Sunday June 21.
After the tour they recorded at The Lab Studio, on 4-track gear with Doug Hood at the control desk. A three song single was released on the Furtive label by Propeller Records. The A-side was 'Crying Again' and on the flip were 'Walk on By' and 'Hard to Bear'.
Benny Staples then left to join Miltown Stowaways.
In September 1982, Chris Matthews rejoined the band to open for Split Enz on their “Time & Tide Tour” in Whangarei and Auckland's Mainstreet. The Prime Movers split after the Mainstreet show 1982.
Nick Crowther formed Export Lamb with Tim Mahon from Blam Blam Blam and John Fearon of Peking Man. Ian Gilroy took over on drums from Fearon. The trio toured nationally and in 1983 released the single 'Chicken On A Wire' on Propeller with The Prime Movers-penned ‘Someone To Blame’ and 'Be The Boss' on the flip.