Several of 1997's members had previously played in Chicago bands Constance, Funeral Etiquette, and October Fall. The name 1997 has been discussed widely, but via the band's Myspace blog, they have rejected all claims of the name's origination. They began practicing together in October 2005, and after strong local performances signed with Victory Records in 2006. Victory issued their debut, entitled A Better View of the Rising Moon, in April 2007, as the group toured the US with The Audition and The Graduate. Keyboardist/vocalist Kerri Mack left the group in April 2007 after recording the album, and was replaced with current keyboardist/vocalist Alida Marroni.