Show of Hands consists of songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer. The seeds for the band were planted when the two were teenagers playing in their hometown of Exeter, Great Britain. They played together in various pubs and clubs around Europe, often with disastrous results, and eventually stopped performing together when high school ended. Knightley went to college while Beer dove right into the music industry. The two remained apart through the '80s, but found each other again and decided to start playing together. By 1991, they realized they still worked well as a duo and began to play out under the Show of Hands name.