Bad English

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Bad English
Bad English, clockwise L-to-R: Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo, Ricky Phillips, Jonathan Cain, and John Waite
Bad English, clockwise L-to-R: Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo, Ricky Phillips, Jonathan Cain, and John Waite
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1987–1991
Past membersJohn Waite
Neal Schon
Jonathan Cain
Ricky Phillips
Deen Castronovo

Bad English was an American/British glam metal supergroup formed in 1987. It reunited Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain with singer John Waite and bassist Ricky Phillips, his former bandmates in the Babys, along with Journey guitarist Neal Schon and drummer Deen Castronovo.

The band is mainly known for their hit single "When I See You Smile", which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1989.[5]


The members decided on a name for the band while playing pool. John Waite missed a shot and Jonathan Cain made a comment on how bad his "english" was (referring to the spin a player puts on the cue ball), and the band decided to use the phrase.[6]

Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neal Schon, members of the successful rock band Journey, formed Bad English with Waite after Journey disbanded.[7] They were joined by Ricky Phillips, who had played bass for the Babys on two albums with Waite and Cain, and drummer Deen Castronovo.

First album[edit]

The band's first album, Bad English, was a big seller. It contained three top-40 hit singles: the number one hit "When I See You Smile", the top 10 hit "Price of Love", and "Possession".

The album's first single, however, was "Forget Me Not." It stalled outside the Top 40 at #45, but the single peaked at #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The second single, "When I See You Smile", was their biggest hit, peaking at #1 on the Hot 100. The song is also notable for being the only song entirely written by an outside writer without help from at least one member in the band, besides "Don't Walk Away".[8] "Best of What I Got" was released as a promotional single to Rock Radio, where the tune cracked the top 10.[9]

From March to June 1990, the band toured across the US with glam metal band Whitesnake in support of the album.[10]

Second album[edit]

The band's second album, Backlash, came and went without any fanfare. The only single, "Straight to Your Heart," missed the Top 40, peaking at No. 42. Ricky Phillips writes on his website that the group had parted company before the second album had been mixed. Both Phillips and guitarist Neal Schon expressed frustration with the "pop" side of the band's songs and wanted a harder edge. In the end, it proved to be the band's undoing as everyone left to pursue other projects.


In later interviews, Waite revealed that although he loved playing to stadium-sized audiences, he was uncomfortable with the corporate rock image that he felt the band had presented. He returned to working as a solo artist. Schon and Castronovo joined the fledgling rock band Hardline in 1991; however, both would leave the group not long after the release of its debut album, with Schon pursuing other projects and Castronovo joining Ozzy Osbourne's band. In the mid-1990s, Schon rejoined Cain, who had released two solo albums in the interim, in a reformed Journey. Castronovo also joined Journey in 1998, eventually leaving in 2015. He later became a member of the Dead Daisies and Revolution Saints before returning to Journey in 2021. Meanwhile, Phillips returned to session work, recording with artists such as Coverdale/Page, Bobby Kimball, and Eddie Money, before joining Styx in the early 2000s.

In popular culture[edit]

"Best of What I Got" from the band's first album, is featured during the credits to the 1989 movie Tango & Cash, starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell.[11]

Band members[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1989 Bad English 21 12 34 39 74
1991 Backlash
  • Release date: August 1991
  • Label: Epic Records
72 159 34 21 30 64
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details
1995 Greatest Hits


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US Main
1989 "Forget Me Not" 45 2 Bad English
"When I See You Smile" 1 11 10 4 61
"Price of Love" 5 38 30 44 80
"Best of What I Got" 9
1990 "Heaven Is a 4 Letter Word" 66 12 124
"Possession" 21 42
1991 "Straight to Your Heart" 42 9 116 41 Backlash
"Time Stood Still" 19
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or not released to that country

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Popoff, Martin (August 15, 2014). The big book of hair metal : the illustrated oral history of heavy metal's debauched decade. Minneapolis, MN. pp. 171, 209. ISBN 978-0-7603-4546-7. OCLC 858901054. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  2. ^ "Yahoo! Ranks Hair Metal Bands, Causes Me To Pull My Hair Out". idolator. 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  3. ^ "Bad English | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  4. ^ 80's Rock, Vol. 2 - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 2021-04-02
  5. ^ a b "Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  6. ^ "Rock Band Name Origins at WHAT'S IN A NAME". Archived from the original on 2006-08-31.
  7. ^ "A Rousing Reception for Bad English". Daily News of Los Angeles. January 29, 1990 – via
  8. ^ Giles, Jeff (June 26, 2015). "How Journey and The Babys Alumni Rose and Fell in Bad English". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Mainstream Rock". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  10. ^ "Life Story of John Waite - Bad English". July 4, 2008. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  11. ^ Tango & Cash (1989) - IMDb, retrieved 2021-03-16
  12. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  13. ^ " - Australian charts portal". Archived from the original on 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  14. ^ a b "Bubbling Down Under Week Commencing October 14, 1991". Bubbling Down Under. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  15. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada: Top Albums/CDs". RPM. Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  16. ^ " - Swedish charts portal". Archived from the original on 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  17. ^ " - Swiss charts portal". Archived from the original on 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  18. ^ a b "Bad English - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  20. ^ "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Gold & Platinum". Music Canada. Archived from the original on 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  21. ^ "Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  22. ^ " - Australian charts portal". Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  23. ^ "Week commencing 11 June 1990". bubblingdownunder. June 11, 2021. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  24. ^ " - Dutch charts portal". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  25. ^ "1990 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved August 13, 2020.