In 1987, former members of the bands Journey and The Babys formed a new group called Bad English. When members of former big time rock and roll groups or superstar artists join forces to form a new all star group, these groups are usually called supergroups. Examples of supergroups would be Cream, Asia, Humble Pie, Blind Faith and probably the most famous of them all The Travelling Wilburys. Hey, any group that features a former Beatle called George Harrison, a Bob Dylan, a Roy Orbison and a Tom Petty has to be declared the greatest supergroup of all time. Oh yeah and we should not forget Jeff Lynne who is probably one of the most brilliant producers and artists of the past forty years.
Getting back to Bad English. In 1987 John Waite and his former bandmates Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips of The Babys joined forces with Journey’s virtuoso guitarist Neil Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain (who is the only musician here to have played in all the above mentioned bands) to form the group Bad English. The free agent signing was drummer Deen J. Castronovo.
The group released their first album in 1987 entitled simply Bad English. In the 1980’s many legendary rock bands from the 1970s were turning to outside writers to help them revitalize their careers in search of hits. The go to writer of the 1980s and 1990s was Diane Warren. The multi Grammy Award winning songwriter wound up writing songs for such classic 70’s artists such as Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. When Bad English were recording their first album, the group recorded a Diane Warren song entitled “When I See You Smile.” It turned out to be the right move form a commercial standpoint. The Bad English recording of “When I See You Smile,” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987 and stayed there for fourteen days, It was the first number one record that John Waite had ever sung on. Not even his smash hit “Missing You,” had reached number one. However, “When I see You Smile,” was not the first single released from the album. Epic records originally released the track “Forget Me Not,” as the first single. The song did well on album oriented rock but did not break the Billboard top 40.
Bad English – Forget Me Not
Bad English – When I See You Smile
After the release of “When I See You Smile,” had hit number one, the record company eagerly released the next single from the record. For the third single Epic records released the song “The Price of Love.” It was the right choice as the band found themselves with their second straight top 10 single as “Price of Love,” reached all the way to number five on the Billboard Hot 100. This time the band kept the songwriting duties in-house as the song was composed by Jonathan Caine and John Waite. The song clearly defines the genre of 80s power ballad with its soaring chorus and big time middle eight guitar solo.
What is also interesting in the video and on the album cover above is how different John Waite looked in Bad English. John Waite’s hair is three times as long as it was in The Babys and gone is the short hair style he depicted in the “Missing You,” video. This was the big hair 80s and all the guys in the band were doing their best to look the part.
Bad English – Price Of Love
Singles aside, the debut album from Bad English contained some great rock and roll tracks that clearly defined the enormous talent in the band. The band released five singles from the album. As the CD generation took hold in the late 1980’s bands were releasing albums filled with more tracks than they had traditionally released on vinyl only ten years earlier. The Bad English album contained thirteen tracks. One of our favorite songs on the album was the cranked up blues infused track “Rocking Horse,”
Bad English – Rocking Horse
After the success of their first album, the band Bad English went into the studio to record their follow up. While in the studio there was disagreements over the band’s musical direction. Like we have seen so many time before, supergroups usually do not last longer than an album or two. For whatever reasons, ego, power, whatever, they just can’t keep it together. Everyone wants to do their own thing, there own way.
The band’s second album Backlash was released in 1991. It would be the band’s second and final album. The album was nowhere as successful as the first as there was no longer any band to support the record. Everybody once again went there own ways and Bad English had come to an end. Nonetheless, the Backlash album did contain some great tracks. Below are a few of our favorites.
Bad English – Straight To Your Heart
Bad English – So This Is Eden
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