In a period of a little over two years, Secret Affair posted five releases in the UK Singles Chart and released three albums. The debut single "Time For Action" sold over 200,000 copies and reached number 13 in the UK chart, putting the band at the forefront of the mod revival movement. More chart success followed with "Let Your Heart Dance", "My World" and "Sound Of Confusion".
Formed after the demise of the CBS Records signed power pop band New Hearts, singer Ian Page and guitarist David Cairns spent the second half of 1978 writing songs that would form the basis of the first two Secret Affair albums. They also drew up plans for a smart-dressing youth movement -- the Glory Boys -- based around the idea of 1960s gangster chic and influenced by the movie, Performance.
After spending January 1979 demoing songs, Page and Cairns enlisted the services of bassist Dennis Smith from the power pop band Advertising and Young Bucks drummer Seb Shelton. Saxophone player Dave Winthrop would join later in the year.
From their first gig, opening for The Jam at Reading University in February 1979, the band was adopted by a group of East End Mods, who readily embraced Page's Glory Boy concept. This group of fans began referring to themselves as Glory Boys, often tattooing the name on their arms or inner lips as a badge of allegiance. Secret Affair had become so closely linked to the emerging mod revival that in March 1979 Cairns wrote what would become the youth movement's main anthem, "Time For Action".
Just a few months later, Secret Affair had signed to Arista Records and formed its own label, I-Spy Records and "Time For Action" was in the chart. It was soon followed into the charts by "Let Your Heart Dance", "My World" and "Sound Of Confusion". The first two albums, Glory Boys (December 1979) and Behind Closed Doors (September 1980), with its more complex orchestrated arrangements, proved successful and in its first year Secret Affair regularly appeared on the BBC Television show Top Of The Pops and was a cover star of many UK music magazines, including New Musical Express, Sounds and Smash Hits.
The music videos for several of the band's songs were directed by Steve Barron. The mod movement that had swept Secret Affair into the pop charts had all but evaporated by mid 1980, losing out to the rival 2 Tone fashion movement, and after the release of the band's second album, drummer Shelton quit to join the "Come On Eileen" era Dexys Midnight Runners. Secret Affair regrouped, recruiting ex-Advertising drummer Paul Bultitude and embarking on a lengthy tour of the United States, before returning in late 1981 with its final chart hit, "Do You Know".
One more single followed, "Lost In The Night", before the release of Business As Usual, an album that saw the band return to the rock-soul fusion of its earlier work. Although a spirited album, it was a commercial failure and Secret Affair split-up midway through 1982.
Cairns went on to form a band called Flag, with Archie Brown from The Bureau and signed a recording contract in the US he subsequently teamed up with Scottish singer Alan King in Walk on Fire, writing the majority of the band's material and playing keyboards on tours. Signing to MCA in the U.S., the band released the album Blind Faith in 1990 and toured supporting Foreigner, Nils Lofgren and Dan Reed Network before Cairns joined Gibson Guitars USA as Special Projects manager. Page released two solo singles before leaving the music industry.