The beginnings of Grave Digger date back to 1980. After various appearances at small festivals, the band, comprising Chris Boltendahl, Peter Masson, Willi Lackmann and Albert Eckardt, recorded a song for the compilation album "Rock from Hell" in 1983. A year later, Grave Digger released their debut album "Heavy Metal Breakdown".
They released their second album "Witch Hunter" in 1985. After this album was completed, Eckardt left the band; he was replaced by C.F. Brank. Further festival appearances, a tour as the supporting act for Helloween, and a triple headlining tour with Celtic Frost and Helloween, followed before the release of the third album "War Games" in January 1986. Thereafter, Peter Masson gave way to Uwe Lulis; in 1987 the band's name was changed to Digger, the name under which they released the album "Stronger than Ever".
This album hardly had anything in common with the earlier music of Grave Digger. It was more an attempt to reach the masses with mainstream rock like that of Bon Jovi or Van Halen. The album flopped, as it was not readily accepted by fans nor the mainstream. As a result, Chris Boltendahl declared the break up of the band at the end of 1987.
However, the band partially reformed in 1991. Chris Boltendahl and Uwe Lulis, along with two newcomers, Tomi G?ttlich and J?rg Michael, who had been the drummers for Rage and Running Wild, released a comeback record, "The Reaper". The title song returned to the true roots of Grave Digger. In the same year, the album "Best of the Eighties" was released and comprised a quasi Best-of-Album of their earlier songs.