Winger's first commercial break came in 1984, when he co-wrote a song for KIX's third album, Midnite Dynamite. During that time he was working closely with the record producer, Beau Hill, recording bass and vocals on various records. While Reb Beach was working on Fiona Flannigan's Beyond the Pale record at Atlantic, Winger and Beach were introduced to each other, and later began recording demos. Later, in 1985, Winger joined Alice Cooper's band. After making two albums with Cooper, Winger left in March 1987 to focus on his own band.
Winger returned to New York to work on songs with Reb Beach. They were joined by drummer Rod Morgenstein and keyboard player Paul Taylor. They initially performed under the name Sahara, but eventually changed their name to Winger, at Alice Cooper's suggestion.
The band Winger released three of its nine albums (Winger (1988), In the Heart of the Young (1990), and Pull (1993)) before they each moved on to have successful solo careers.