Written by Wouter Kramer

Life and Times of John Waite


John Waite - Short Biography  


John Waite.  


Without realizing it many people are acquainted with John Waite.  

Although a first encounter with the name "John Waite” doesn’t immediately ring a bell, a short summary of his  

musical achievements commands very soon recognition, admiration and respect.  


Especially his unique, pristine and fragile voice throws people into ecstasies. John Waite is: The Babys, the solo hit  

"Missing You” and - of course - Bad English.  

Being born in Lancaster - England - on the 4th of Juli 1952, John Waite is above all known for his movingly - delicately sung rock ballads.  

Like no other his voice is capable to shape the stilled emotions and chilled romantic relations through singular songs and lovely tuneful scores - the voice of John Waite is one of unmatched quality.  

The excellently modest, crystal clear sung, distinct vocals accomplish that pieces of music like: "Isn’t It Time”, "Every  

Time I Think Of You” (with The Babys), "Missing You”, "Time Stood Still” and "When I See You Smile” (with Bad  

English) are ever more often being regarded as pinnacles of the rocking chronicles.  


Together with The Babys John Waite had big hits, apart from The Netherlands also in Japan, Italy and Germany, but  

in particular in the U.S. of America.  

Very well known are: "Isn’t It Time” (nr. 4 position in The Netherlands - 1977), "Every Time I Think Of You  

(nr. 7 position in 1979) and "Piece Of The Action” - records that were played perpetually by Frits Spits and others.  

After The Babys separated in 1981, John Waite had a number one hit record in the U.S. of America with: "Missing  

You” - which was also an "M.T.V.-Darling”.  

In this song John Waite describes the miserable loneliness he felt when living in the U.S.A. after the divorce from his  

adolescent love Lynn, who remained in England.  

His song "Missing You” has numerous times been covered by other artists.  

Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Brooks and Dun, Tylor Hilton but also our own Bert Heering (Vandenberg) paid honour to the quality of the song by recording and releasing their version.  


In 1989 Bad English made her appearance, comprising John Waite and some old friends from The Babys.  

The name: "Bad English” was derived from a snooker term.  

According to critics Bad English was a characteristic Arena rock band - as were more bands in the American late eighties.  

The first (self-titled) album of Bad English reached platinum status and with "When I See You Smile” John Waite had  

his second number one hit-single in the U.S. of America.  

The band’s 2nd album - Backlash - produced two big hits: "Straight To Your Heart” and: "Time Stood Still”, despite  

the lack of a supportive video-clip as Bad English had already disbanded. The latter song reached our national top ten in 1992, being an ex-Veronica Alarm-disc.  


John Waite’s short-lived collaboration with his Dutch friend Adje van den Berg didn’t leave any musical expressions  

for generations to come - what a pity that is!  

In 2001 John Waite and his former palls from Bad English (now being the super group Journey) were on tour through  

the U.S. of America.  

There was silent hope that he, together with Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon and Dean Castronova (all former members  

of The Babys and Bad English) would ever record together again - certainly now they were hanging around friendly  

again with each other.  

However, John Waite prefers to proceed his successful career as solo artist.  


Anyway, with his 2008 glorious solo album Downtown Journey Of A Heart (Frontiers records) John Waite got back in  

the forefront - a position which he, considering his service record, fully deserved.  

The album Downtown Journey Of A Heart (2008) includes a newly sung - breathtaking - performance of The  

Babys’ classic "Isn’t It Time”, a wonderful version of "Missing You” - sung in duet with Alison Krauss - and a  

crystal clear acoustic version of the world-hit "When I See You Smile
Waite’s anticipated new release Rough and Tumble follows 2008’s Downtown…Journey of Heart and shows a new and fresh side of the British singer/songwriter’s creative output. Part of the album was recorded in Nashville. The record wrapped with a spirited studio session in Los Angeles with the members of his touring band. Waite says of Rough & Tumble: "As much as I feel the release of the live album, In Real Time, last May was a defining moment and as much as I have enjoyed playing those songs, I consider this album a new beginning. I approached this project with an entirely different ambition musically than I’ve had in the past. It’s the first record I’ve made that I think is made up of singles. All 12 tracks are contenders. They’re all alive in their own way. I’m not really sure what the energy is behind the songs, but there is a real kind of velocity in the album where we just picked up speed and kept going. We just wanted to play and win.” A good portion of Rough & Tumble was written and produced in a sweet pocket of creativity enjoyed over the past year and a half with Matchbox Twenty lead guitarist/songwriter Kyle Cook, who Waite met through a mutual friend. "It’s pretty much extraordinary,” Waite says about the material he created for the new album. "It’s not like what people would expect from me. It’s a step to the left. There’s a rock imprint on the music and a melodic presence, but it’s just shifted gears. It’s an extreme record. It has an identity and a philosophy of its own, which is really fresh for me.” The Waite/Cook collaboration has proved to be nothing short of phenomenal, as evidenced by songs like "Evil” (a thumping rocker-meets-dance-club tour de force), "Better Off Gone” (a hook-laced better-off-on-the-open-road anthem), the deep groove-laden "Love’s Goin’ Out of Style” and the soaring magic ballad "If You Ever Get Lonely”. "I’m not saying it’s high art, but genuinely speaking, it’s fantastic for me,” Waite says, reflecting on his new music. "I certainly am interested in spending the rest of my life doing something creative rather than just living in the past”. On Rough & Tumble, Waite also managed to keep the rougher live rock edge that shines through on In Real Time alive and well. The no-holds-barred, riff-ready title track and the driving renditions of "Sweet Rhode Island Red” (a Tina Turner number) and "Mr. Wonderful” (a new take on a hidden gem originally included on his debut solo album, Ignition) are set to shake heads during the next tour. The melodies of the amazing "Shadows of Love” are yet another highlight of Waite’s new superbly varied and interesting musical statement