Countless musicians of far lesser accomplishment have probably made similar statements regarding their own personal creative process, but when the confession comes from John Waite – whose been successfully writing, recording and performing some of the most listenable, enduring and appreciated popular music for more than 35 years – one cannot help but both recognize and marvel at the shimmering legacy of this British born rock star.
The ride began when Waite was tapped as bassist and lead vocalist for the Baby’s who rocketed to Top 20 chart positions with 1978’s Head First. It was the album’s rhythmically aggressive and seductive title track where fans got their first glimpse of the authentic John Waite, a no-holds-barred rock n’ roll performer devoted heart and soul to live performance and making sure every fan in the audience left the concert hall just as elated and exhausted as the band they’d paid to see.
John Waite’s abundant and prodigious solo career was ignited by Ignition, whose single, “Change,” rode the AOR charts for weeks in 1982. John’s next solo effort, 1984’s No Brakes, did exactly what the title inferred, barreling at runaway train speed to international acclaim and U.S. platinum success thanks to the smash hit, “Missing You,” which reached Number 1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles, Album Rock Tracks and Adult Contemporary charts. The following up single, “Tears” was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.
In 1988, a reunion with former Baby’s band mates, Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips –along with uber-guitarist Neal Schon from Journey and drummer Deen Castronovo –resulted in the John Waite fronted supergroup, Bad English. And in 1989, the group’s ballad, “When I See You Smile,” went to Number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was certified Gold. The album reached Top Five and sold more than two million units in the U.S. alone.
Since returning to the recording studio and concert trek as a solo artist in 1995, John has produced a string of solid, existentially eccentric, courageously eclectic and blisteringly electric rock n’ roll records. The story is far from over for the Lancaster, England-born rock star/balladeer/storyteller who was inspired onto his musical path by childhood blues-based heroes like Free, the Small Faces and Humble Pie, along with a deep connection to the Celtic folk music of his homeland. The legacy of John Waite is a beautiful monster of sound and vision, the chronicle of an authentic artist, a superstar, a seeker of truth and a soother of hearts. He walks and rocks among us.