After recording psychedelic album Blue Sunshine for the one-off project the Glove during summer 1983, Robert Smith finished off the year composing and working on two other studio albums at the same time: The Top for the Cure and Hyæna for Siouxsie and the Banshees. Smith was still the official guitarist of the Banshees while he wrote The Top.
For The Top, Smith teamed up with another Cure founding member, Lol Tolhurst, who had given up drums for keyboards, and new drummer Andy Anderson, who had previously performed on the UK top 10 single "The Lovecats". Porl Thompson was credited for playing saxophone on "Give Me It". All the songs are credited to Smith but three tracks were co-written with Tolhurst: "The Caterpillar", "Bird Mad Girl" and "Piggy in the Mirror".