Taking Back Sunday was formed in New York in 1999. The founder was a guitar player Eddie Reyes. Four of his friends joined the project right away. However, the permanent lineup was formed three years later. The group went through numerous member changes.
Eddie used to work with such groups as The Movielife and Mind Over Matter. Another member of the band Jesse Lacey performed with Rookie Lot. They were joined by a guitar player John Nolan, a vocalist Antonio Longo, and a drummer Steven DeJoseph. The latter soon left the band. Mark O’Connell replaced him. Longo left right after the group released its debut EP, Return Back Sunday. Two more band members left before 2001 was over. In February, Taking Back Sunday released a demo album, which featured five tracks, and embarked on a tour.
Before releasing the debut LP, Tell All Your Friends, the musicians recorded a popular music video for the song "Great Romances of the 20th Century". In 2000, the group signed a contract with Victory Records and started working on the debut album. The LP earned positive reviews from the fans but mixed opinions from the critics. It received gold status in the USA.