The first lineup consisted of primary school friends Vlada Divljan (guitar, vocals), Zdenko Kolar (bass), Boža Jovanović (drums) and Divljan's high school friends Srđan Šaper (percussion, vocals) and Nebojša Krstić (percussion).
At that time the band collaborated with Dragan Papić who was a kind of media activist. For example, they were to announce a change to the band's name on several occasions and the new names would be "Apoloni 5" (Appolos 5) or "Idoli plus bradonje" ("The Idols plus the bearded") because of Kolar and Jovanović's wearing beards.
The first ideas of forming Idoli came up in 1979 when a youth magazine published photos of a band called Dečaci which were actually photos of the first Idoli lineup.
The photos featured witty remarks like, for example on March 8, 1979, a photo signed "Dečaci emancipuju žene" ("The Boys emancipate women").
The roots of Idoli can be found in a band called Merlin (not to be confused with the Sarajevo pop rock band of the same name) and then Zvuk Ulice consisting of Vlada Divljan on guitar and vocals, bassist Zdenko Kolar, keyboard player Dragan Mitrić, drummer Kokan Popović, Bora Antić on saxophone and Dragana Milković on piano and vocals.
The band played a combination of jazz and pop rock.
"Margita je dečak" ("Margita is a boy", the first ever graffiti in Belgrade dedicated to Margita Stefanović who later became Katarina II keyboardist.), "Dečaci ne plaču" ("Boys Don't Cry") or "Srđane budi čovek" ("Srđan, be a man") are only a few examples.A tour with Film came in 1981 when they traveled in a boat and played in sea side resorts.In the summer of 1981, a new drummer became Kokan Popović who previously played with Divljan and Kolar in Merlin and Zvuk Ulice.The opening acts were Bezobrazno Zeleno, VIA Talas, Marko Brecelj and Feo Volarić.The next release was a self-titled EP or mini LP as it was called in former Yugoslavia, featuring six tracks including a cover version of Chuck Berry's "Come On" ("Hajde") and Darko Kraljić's "Devojko mala", with two different music videos.