John Waite
Birth Date:
July 4, 1955
Birth Place:
Lancaster, Lancashire, England, UK
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Missing You


British-born rock singer John Waite has been in music industry since 1975. He is best known as the lead vocalist for The Babys (1975-1980), an English group which had medium chart victory and a devoted following for their concert tours, and Bad English (1988-1992), which had a No. 1 hit in 1989 with “When I See You Smile.” On his own, now the resident of Santa Monica, California, Waite has released nine albums and two compilations since making his debut with 1982's “Ignition,” famous for producing the MTV darling “Change.” However, the accomplished soloist is probably most popular for performing “Missing You,” which became a No. 1 song in the United Stated in 1984. More recently, in 2006, the song was recorded as a duet with Alison Kraus and became a country hit.

“('Missing You') was the last song I wrote in LA. I was missing my wife. I was a long way from home and I felt really miserable and I wrote the song about that.” John Waite

Other hits produced by Waite include “Tears,” “Restless Heart,” “Every Step of the Way,” “Welcome to Paradise,” “If Anybody Had a Heart,” “These Times are Hard for Lovers,” “Don't Lose Any Sleep,” “How Did I Get By Without You?” and “New York City Girl.” Waite also has penned and recorded several songs for feature films.

Lancaster Native

Childhood and Family:

John Charles Waite was born on July 4, 1955, in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. He took bass guitar as a first instrument and learned much from Jimi Hendrix records. When he was 10, he substituted the lead singer for his brother's band during a local engagement, since the regular singer did not came out. With the intention of becoming an illustrator for children's book, John went to Lancaster Art College to study graphic design, during which time he became involved in a band that played at local college dances. Upon graduating, he was illegitimately accused of thief and fled to London, where he formed his first band. He next spent a time in the U.S before eventually returning to England to resume his musical career.

A longtime inhabitant of New York City, John now lives in Santa Monica, California.



“I was born into a musical family, a working class family. My mother played the piano. My dad was very into classical music. My brother was in a band. I grew up surrounded by it, and I grew up with no radio. We didn't have a radio until I was 8. My aunty Doris gave me a radiogram and a bunch of 45s, and I grew up surrounded by Irish folk music, country western, blues, rock 'n' roll, and rockabilly. I wasn't influenced by one form of music until I was 17. I was in this musical cement mixer, which was Great Britain; we've got everything musically. As far as local bands, I played in a few local bands when I was in art school. I eventually moved to London and joined a band called England. It was a 3-piece jazz-rock band. I moved to the U.S. to try to join a band that was going to make it in Cleveland for six months, then came back home.” John Waite

Born and raised in Lancaster, 70 miles north of Liverpool, England, John Waite moved to London after being wrongfully accused of stealer and formed his first band, the jazz rock trio England, while there. The group finally broke up and White made his way to the U.S., where he and ex-vocalist of England began a new group called The Boys, a punk band. A few months later, he returned to London and met Mike Corby while hanging out in a pub in London's East End. The two decided to start a band together. The Babys signed a record deal with Chrysalis six months later and after two years of struggling and downright commitment, enjoyed their first hit with the song “If You’ve Got the Time,” which subsequently launched Waite's career in England and America. They went on to score hit with “Isn’t It Time,” taken from the second album “Broken Heart,” and many other charted singles like “Back on My Feet,” “Midnight Rendezvous” and “Head First” before their eventual break up in October 1980.

Following a five-year stint with The Babys, Waite relocated to New York City and then in 1982 launched a solo career by releasing “Ignition.” A Top 68 hit, the album spawned the hit single “Change,” an MTV favorite written by Holly Knight and later included in the “Vision Quest” soundtrack. He returned to England to marry his childhood sweetheart and divorce his longtime label, Chrysalis, but soon moved back to America to record his next album for EMI America. “No Brakes” was released in 1984 and produced his biggest hit so far with “Missing You,” which continued to become a No. 1 hit in America. It also contained the Top 10 Billboard hit “Tears.” He followed that up with “Mask of Smiles” (US #36) in 1985 and “Rovers Return” (US #77) in 1987. The first had the single “If Anybody Had a Heart” that was included in the soundtrack of the 1986 film “About Last Night...,” starring Demi Moore.

1988 saw Waite form the supergroup Bad English along with former Babys bandmates Jonathan Cain (keyboards) and Ricky Phillips (bass), and guitarist Neal Schon from Journey and drummer Deen Castronovo. A year later, the group's ballad “When I See You Smile,” written by Diane Warren, became a chart-topper hit in America. The singer/songwriter remained with the group and produced two more albums until its break up in 1992.

Waite returned to solo work and released a compilation album called “The Essential John Waite” later that same year. “Temple Bar,” his fifth studio album, resurfaced three years later in 1995. In 1997, he released “When You Were Mine.” Waite has since produced a compilation, “Live & Rare Tracks” (2001), and three solo albums, including his latest album, “Downtown... Journey of a Heart” (2006). He also regularly hit the street. He toured with Ringo Starr's All Starr Band in 2003 and served as an opening act for Journey in 2005. On performing with Ringo Starr, he said, “It was great, half the time I would go blank. I would turn around and look at Ringo and he would be smiling with me, you kind of forget where you are. He's a great guy. He's very funny and very dry. It was kind of unreal. We were on a private jet flying around with one of The Beatles. It was worth putting everything on hold to do it. For me, it was one of the biggest things I have done in my career.”

In 2006, “Missing You” was released as a duet with Alison Krauss and peaked at No. 40 at the Country Charts in the United States. Waite appeared with Krauss on the “Tonight Show” on February 5, 2007 to perform the song.


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