John Waite

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John Waite
Waite Performing at the Tulalip Amphitheatre in 2021
Waite Performing at the Tulalip Amphitheatre in 2021
Background information
Birth nameJohn Charles Waite
Born (1952-07-04) 4 July 1952 (age 71)
Lancashire, England
OriginLondon, England
Occupation(s)Singer, musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, bass
Years active1975–present
Formerly of

John Charles Waite (born 4 July 1952)[1] is a British rock singer and musician. As a solo artist, he has released ten studio albums and is best known for the 1984 hit single "Missing You", which reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the top ten on the UK Singles Chart. He was also the lead vocalist for the successful rock bands The Babys and Bad English.


Waite at soundcheck before the 2011 Surf and Song Festival

Waite was born in Lancashire[2] and was educated at Greaves Secondary Modern and Lancaster Art College (The Storey Institute). As a performer, Waite first came to attention as the lead singer and bassist of The Babys, a British rock band that had moderate chart success. The band achieved two pop hits that each peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Isn't It Time" (1977) and "Everytime I Think of You" (1979),[3] and a solid following of their concert tours. Over the course of five years, the band produced five albums ending with the final album On the Edge in October 1980, after which the group disbanded.[4][better source needed]

Waite subsequently launched his solo career with his 1982 debut album Ignition, which produced the hit single "Change".[5] The Chrysalis 45 failed to chart on Billboard's Hot 100 during its initial release (May 1982) but was a top track on AOR radio stations, as well as a very popular music video on MTV as the 'new' cable channel celebrated its first full year of operation. The song was originally recorded in 1981 (with slightly different lyrics) by the American rock band Spider (which featured Amanda Blue, Holly Knight, and Anton Fig) and in 1985 was included on the platinum-selling Vision Quest soundtrack. When the single was reissued, it reached the Top 50 on the Hot 100. "Going to the Top" was released as the original follow-up single to "Change".

In 1984, Waite guest-starred on three episodes of the TV series Paper Dolls. The shows featured his songs "Missing You" and "Tears".

His next album, No Brakes, resulted in international success.[5] It was a Top 10 Billboard album in the US due to the smash hit "Missing You" which went to No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[6] It knocked Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It?" out of No. 1. For that very reason, Turner later recorded and released Waite's smash song herself. (Turner's single peaked at No. 84 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1996). "Missing You" also hit No. 1 on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks as well as the Top 10 of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. No Brakes sold over a million and a half US copies, yet has never been certified above the RIAA Gold standard (a record company must apply to the RIAA for such certification). Two more singles from No Brakes followed, including "Tears" which was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

The next album Mask of Smiles followed in 1985,[5] featuring the hit single "Every Step of the Way". Another single, "If Anybody Had a Heart", was released from the soundtrack of the 1986 film About Last Night.... In 1987, Rover's Return was released with the single "These Times Are Hard for Lovers". Waite would have another soundtrack appearance in 1990 from Days of Thunder with "Deal for Life".

In 1988, Waite joined former Babys bandmates Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips, along with Neal Schon and drummer Deen Castronovo from Journey, to form the supergroup Bad English.[5] In 1989, the Bad English ballad "When I See You Smile" (penned by Diane Warren) went to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 and earned a Gold-certified single. Its parent album reached Billboard's Top Five and sold nearly two million copies in the United States alone. Bad English released two albums before tensions amongst the members led to the band's dissolution by 1992.[5]

Waite then returned to solo work. He released the album Rough and Tumble. He has continued to tour, such as in 2003 with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.

In 2006, "Missing You" was released as a duet with Alison Krauss and reached the Top 40 on the Country Charts in the United States. Waite appeared with Krauss on The Tonight Show on 5 February 2007 to perform the song. Waite's songs have reappeared in other media as well: 2013 saw "Missing You" featured heavily in the movie Warm Bodies, and "Change" is on the soundtrack of the US movie Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

On 5 February 2019, Waite and Joe Ely filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) claiming the company had violated their right to terminate grants of copyright. On 3 May 2019, UMG filed a motion to dismiss the case. [7][8] In January, 2023 a federal judge ruled that Waite and hundreds of other artists cannot join forces to sue UMG to regain control of their masters, saying the case raised big questions about “fairness” but that it was ill-suited for class-action litigation. [9]

Waite was the subject of 2022 biographical documentary John Waite: The Hard Way.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Previously a longtime resident of New York City, since 2014 Waite has made his home in Santa Monica, California.[11]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1982 Ignition
1984 No Brakes
  • Second studio album
  • Release date: 15 June 1984
  • Label: EMI
64 27 10
1985 Mask of Smiles
  • Third studio album
  • Release date: 26 July 1985
  • Label: EMI
1987 Rover's Return
  • Fourth studio album
  • Release date: 19 June 1987
  • Label: EMI
99 30 77
1995 Temple Bar
  • Fifth studio album
  • Release date: 14 February 1995
  • Label: Imago Records
1997 When You Were Mine
2001 Figure in a Landscape
  • Seventh studio album
  • Release date: 21 August 2001
  • Label: Gold Circle Records
2004 The Hard Way
  • Eighth studio album
  • Release date: 21 September 2004
  • Label: No Brakes
2007 Downtown: Journey of a Heart
2011 Rough & Tumble
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Live albums[edit]

Year Album Label
2001 Live & Rare Tracks One Way
2010 In Real Time Frontiers Records
2013 Live – All Access No Brakes Records

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1992 The Essential John Waite Chrysalis
1996 Complete Capitol
2014 Best No Brakes Records
2017 Wooden Heart – Acoustic Anthology, Volume 2 No Brakes Records


Year Album Label
2014 Wooden Heart – Acoustic, Volume 1 – EP No Brakes Records


Year Single Peak chart positions[12] Certifications Album
US Main US AC US Dance US Country
1982 "Change" 16 Ignition
"Going to the Top"
1984 "Missing You" 9 5 1 18 12 1 1 7 27 No Brakes
"Tears" 45 37 8
"Dark Side of the Sun"
1985 "Restless Heart" 59 28
"Change" (re-release) 54 Vision Quest (soundtrack)
"Every Step of the Way" 160 39 25 4 Mask of Smiles
"Welcome to Paradise" 85
1986 "If Anybody Had a Heart" 76 24 About Last Night... (soundtrack)
1987 "These Times Are Hard for Lovers" 77 59 53 6 Rover's Return
"Don't Lose Any Sleep" 81
1990 "Deal for Life" 80 Days of Thunder
1993 "In Dreams" 103 True Romance (soundtrack)
"Missing You" (re-entry) 56 The Essential John Waite
1995 "How Did I Get By Without You?" 89 20 Temple Bar
2001 "Fly" 27 Figure in a Landscape
2005 "New York City Girl" 23 The Hard Way
2006 "Missing You" (with Alison Krauss) 34 Downtown: Journey of a Heart
2011 "Shadows of Love" Rough & Tumble
"If You Ever Get Lonely"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ George-Warren, Holly; Romanowski, Patricia; Pareles, Jon, eds. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. University of Michigan. p. 36.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (4 July 1955). "John Waite | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. "The Babys | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Life Story: The Babys (continued)". Archived from the original on 16 April 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 474/5. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  6. ^ Bronson, Fred, ed. (1997). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. University of Virginia. p. 594.
  7. ^ French, Leonard (18 May 2018). "Music Industry Opposes Copyright Termination; What is it?". Lawful Masses with Leonard French. YouTube. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  8. ^ Sanchez, Daniel (7 May 2018). "Universal Music Is Battling to Nullify the 35-Year Copyright Termination Right". Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  9. ^ Donahue, Bill (27 January 2023). "Hundreds of UMG Artists Can't Sue Label as Class Action Over Termination Rights, Judge Says". Billboard Legal News. Billboard Pro. Retrieved 3 February 2024.
  10. ^ "John Waite: The Hard Way". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  11. ^ Bolton, R. Scott (12 March 2014). "Interview with John Waite". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  12. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 589. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  13. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 331. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ Hung, Steffen (29 July 1987). "Swedish Charts Portal". Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 949. ISBN 978-0-89820-188-8.
  16. ^ "British certifications – John Waite". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 20 July 2022. Type John Waite in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]