The Babys- Head First 45th Anniversary- John Waite, Jonathan Cain

In January 1979, their third album, Head First, garnered considerable rock radio airplay for England’s The Babys, peaking at #22 sales and another lucky #13 single,”Every Time I Think of You”, but with keyboard player Michael Corby departing, the three remaining band members Wally Stocker on guitar, Tony Brock on drums, and John Waite on bass guitar and vocals recruited Americans Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips to tour in support of red hot Journey. Cain and Phillips actually wrote and played on the 1980 Union Jacks  album which delivered “Back on My Feet Again” and the infectious “Midnight Rendezvous”, and the Journey/Babys double bill that year is recalled as a legendary tour.

  This is how the #13 hit “Isn’t It Time?” by British band The Babys was introduced to America in late 1977, coming from their second album in barely six months, Broken Heart: driving home late at night during Autumn 1977 in a 1965 Ford Fairlane with an AM-only radio, a song came on that opened with a melancholy naked piano melody. Then a lush orchestra joined in as a male voice with just a hint of an English accent sang,”Falling in love was the last thing I had on my mind…”. Then a solo trumpet repeated the melody the singer had just sung, but mariachi-like. Then these female backup singers come in prominently on the bridge to this huge hooky chorus. But wait: the lead singer switched places with the girl singers, who then take over belting out the chorus. What??!

And the song “Give Me Your Love” on Broken Heart really shows their influences, particularly guitarist Wally Stocker, as the song could have fit easily on Free’s Heartbreaker finale five years earlier.

( Union Jacks  front l-r Tony Brock, Wally Stocker, John Waite; back Jonathan Cain & Ricky Phillips)

For this retrospective John Waite and Jonathan Cain put on their big boy pants for a frank conversation about The Babys, a promising band which had some unfortunate breaks which ultimately stunted their growth the first time around. –Redbeard