John Charles Waite (born 4 July 1952) is an English 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 was born in Lancaster, Lancashire, 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 both coincidentally peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Isn't It Time" (1977) and "Everytime I Think of You" (1979), 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.
Waite subsequently launched his solo career with his 1982 debut album Ignition, which produced the hit single "Change". The Chrysalis 45 failed to chart on Billboard's Hot 100 during its initial release (June 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".
His next album, No Brakes, resulted in international success. 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. 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 charts.
The next album Mask of Smiles followed in 1985 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 "". 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 from Journey and drummer Deen Castronovo, to form the supergroup Bad English. 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.
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.
In 2008, he recorded a guest vocal on the track "In God's Shadow" from the Keith Reid Project's The Common Thread.
Waite appears as himself and performs two songs in the 2010 feature film New Day, from L'Oiseau Blanc Films.
Lawsuit against Universal Music Group
On 5 February 2019, Waite and Joe Ely filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) claiming the company is violating their right to terminate grants of copyright after 35 years in accordance with copyright law of the United States by ignoring Notices of Termination. On 3 May 2019, UMG filed a motion to dismiss the case, stating the Notices of Termination were not valid because the songs were not grants of copyright but works for hire.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1985||Mask of Smiles
|1997||When You Were Mine
|2001||Figure in a Landscape
|2004||The Hard Way
|2007||Downtown: Journey of a Heart
|2011||Rough & Tumble
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2001||Live & Rare Tracks||One Way|
|2010||In Real Time||Frontiers Records|
|2013||Live - All Access||No Brakes Records|
|1992||The Essential John Waite||Chrysalis|
|2014||Best||No Brakes Records|
|2017||Wooden Heart – Acoustic Anthology, Volume 2||No Brakes Records|
|2014||Wooden Heart – Acoustic, Volume 1 – EP||No Brakes Records|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Main||US AC||US Dance||US Country|
|"Going to the Top"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1984||"Missing You"||9||5||1||18||12||1||1||7||27||—||No Brakes|
|"Dark Side of the Sun"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Change" (re-release)||—||—||—||—||—||54||—||—||—||—||Vision Quest (soundtrack)|
|"Every Step of the Way"||—||—||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|
- George-Warren, Holly; Romanowski, Patricia; Pareles, Jon, eds. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. University of Michigan. p. 36.
- Huey, Steve. "The Babys | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "Life Story: The Babys (continued)". JohnWaite.com. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007.
- Bronson, Fred, ed. (1997). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. University of Virginia. p. 594.
- French, Leonard (18 May 2018). "Music Industry Opposes Copyright Termination; What is it?". Lawful Masses with Leonard French. YouTube. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- Sanchez, Daniel (7 May 2018). "Universal Music Is Battling to Nullify the 35-Year Copyright Termination Right". digitalmusicnews.com. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- Bolton, R. Scott (12 March 2014). "Interview with John Waite". Roughedge.com. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 589. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- 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.
- Hung, Steffen (29 July 1987). "Swedish Charts Portal". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (4 July 1955). "John Waite | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 949. ISBN 0-89820-188-8.