Biography written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
John Waite formed the Babys in London, England, in 1976 with Wally Stocker (guitar), Mike Corby (vocals, keyboards), and Tony Brock (drums). Initially conceived as a teen pop band, the group earned a record contract based on the strength of a video demo they constructed with producer Mike Mansfield. Chrysalis pushed the band heavily, resulting in "Isn't It Time" becoming a hit in the U.S. and U.K. in 1977. As their career progressed, the group began to experiment with synthesized, new wave-inspired power pop, which resulted in a handful of minor hits. Jonathan Cain became the band's keyboardist in 1978, and he and Waite developed a close relationship. When Cain left the Babys to join Journey in 1981, the group disbanded.
Waite began his solo career the following year, releasing Ignition on Chrysalis. While the album generated the minor hit "Change," his second album, 1984's No Brakes, became a genuine Top Ten hit on the strength of the number one single "Missing You." While "Missing You" was an international smash, eventually becoming one of the best-remembered songs of the early MTV era, No Brakes produced only one other hit, the Top 40 "Tears." Its failure to produce another blockbuster was indicative of how Waite's solo career would proceed. Mask of Smiles (1985) barely managed a Top 40 entry ("Every Step of the Way"), but Rover's Return (1987) produced no hits, bringing Waite's career to a standstill.
With his career stalled, Waite formed the supergroup Bad English with former Babys Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips (bass), ex-Journey guitarist Neal Schon, and drummer Deen Castronovo. The group's eponymous debut, released in 1989 on Epic Records, became a platinum success after the power ballad "When I See You Smile" became a number one hit. "Price of Love" was a Top Ten hit in the wake of "When I See You Smile," but their 1991 follow-up, Backlash, suffered from one. Bad English broke up shortly after the album's release. Waite resumed his solo career in 1995, releasing Temple Bar on Imago. Several albums appeared on various labels as the 21st century got under way, including Figure in a Landscape and Live & Rare Tracks from Gold Circle and One Way Records, respectively, in 2001, followed by Hard Way on Hard Brakes in 2004 and Downtown Journey of a Heart on Frontiers in 2006. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide