The original members of the band were Brian Young,Ronnie Matthews, Graham Marshall, Leigh Carson and Gordon Blair. The name Rudi came from a single called "Oo Oo Rudi" by The Jook. The band started off by playing cover versions of glam rock songs and music from the 1960s. Brown and Carson left the band shortly after its formation, and Johnny Stewart was brought in on bass. By 1976, punk rock was emerging, and the band adopted a new pop punk sound. They were unable to get regular gigs, so the band resorted to booking hotels for private parties. By 1977, their set contained a mix of glam, punk and 1960s covers mixed with a few originals.
In October 1977, The Clash were due to play the Ulster Hall, Belfast. The concert was cancelled at the last minute due to the insurance being withdrawn. The crowd reacted by trying to block Bedford Street, and a confrontration broke out with the police. This event became the inspiration for Rudi's most popular song, "Cops", with the chorus "We hate the cops".Stewart left the band and Gordon Blair joined on bass. In January 1978, they played a gig with another Belfast band, The Outcasts, at The Pound. Later that same month, a support slot with Buzzcocks turned into a headline spot, when the Buzzcocks got stranded on the other side of the Irish Sea, however in April 1978, Rudi released their debut single, "Big Time". The song was originally intended to be given away as a free flexidisc with a fanzine, but the band discovered they could release a proper vinyl single for the same cost. With the help of Terry Hooley, who had seen them at the Pound gig earlier that year, the Good Vibrations record label was born, and "Big Time" was its first release. Rudi decided that it was the time to try their luck in London, but things did not work out and they returned to Belfast. In their absence, another single was released, "Overcome By Fumes", and the band continued to gig locally.
In 1979, the band were filmed for a segment of the forthcoming Northern Ireland punk movie, Shell Shock Rock, being made by John T. Davis, and they also played at the Dark Space Festival in Dublin with U2. Shortly after, they released the I Spy EP (with the James Bond theme song as the introduction to the title track). At about this time, they made another journey to England to play some gigs and record demos and sessions for Radio 1. Blair then left and later joined The Outcasts, whilst Mathews took over the bass for the England trip. After returning to Belfast, the band appeared with The Undertones in an edition of the BBC 2 youth programme Something Else, recording a two-song set consisting of "Who? You!" and "The Pressure's On". In 1980, the band split from Good Vibrations after the record label allegedly failed to release the "Who? You!" single in time to cash in on the band's Something Else appearance.
In 1981, Rudi signed a recording contract with a new label called Jamming (funded by Paul Weller of The Jam). During their time on Jamming, they put out two singles, the When I Was Dead EP, (which came with a limited edition insert) and "Crimson". They were joined on keyboards by Paul Martin of Pretty Boy Floyd and The Gems. They supported the Jam on a few dates of their Transglobal Unity Express Tour, however the Jam split up, which meant the Jamming label would be wound up. Soon after, Rudi also split up.
Rudi has also been made a well known name throughout boys and girls. Eg. Rudi McClurg from Bangor N.I