The principal players in the South London-based band Killing Floor originally met while playing in a blues band called the Loop. During the British blues boom of 1968-1969, lead guitarist Mick Clarke and vocalist/harmonica player Bill Thorndycraft decided to form a "straight blues" group, recruiting prospective members from the classified pages of Melody Maker. Joining them were piano player Lou Martin, bassist Stuart MacDonald, and drummer Bazz Smith. Taking their name from Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" (Wolf's cover was itself a version of Robert Johnson's "The Lemon Song"), the band played just one gig before ex-Radio Caroline DJ and ardent blues fanatic John Edward offered to manage them. Edward's connection with the Southern Music publishing company led to them signing with Southern's Spark Records imprint. The band was booked into Pye Recording Studios and with Edward aboard as "producer," they recorded their self-titled debut in 12 days' time. Most of the material was re-configured Chicago blues classics, except for a cover of Willie Dixon's "You Need Love." Killing Floor was released in the U.S. on new London subsidiary Sire. Meanwhile, Edward booked the band gigs at Dunstable's California Ballroom, where they supported Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, Chicken Shack, and the Herd, to name a few. He also helped them get gigs at the Marquee, where they supported Yes and the Nice, and in 1969, they also toured with Texas bluesman Freddy King on two U.K. tours, which helped further their growing reputation.