L-R: Wally Stocker, Tony Brock,Joey Sykes and John Bisaha.
|Origin||London, England, U.K.|
|Genres||Pop rock, hard rock, power pop|
|Years active||1974–1981, 2013–present|
|Associated acts||Bad English, Journey|
|Past members||Michael Corby
The Babys are a British rock group best known for their songs "Isn't It Time" and "Every Time I Think of You". Both songs were composed by Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy, and each reached No. 13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 on the Cashbox chart in the late 1970s. The 1976–1978 Babys line-up consisted of keyboardist/guitarist Michael Corby, vocalist/bassist John Waite, drummer Tony Brock and guitarist Wally Stocker.
The group signed a contract that was the highest ever for a new music act at the time. Two studio albums, The Babys and Broken Heart went without incident and were well received. However when recording Head First in August 1978, the band Michael Corby was replaced by Jonathan Cain as keyboardist and Ricky Phillips to take over as bassist. From 1979 until the breakup in 1981, The Babys line-up consisted of vocalist Waite, drummer Brock, bassist Phillips, guitarist Stocker, and keyboardist Cain.
John Waite went on to produce a major solo hit, "Missing You", in 1984. Stocker and Brock worked with Rod Stewart and other mainstream artists including Elton John and Air Supply. Cain left to join Journey. Waite, Cain and Phillips joined Bad English in the late 1980s. Phillips currently plays for Styx.
Origin and name
Founding member Mike Corby places the origin of the idea for the band at Smalls Café on the Fulham Road in London in 1973, during a chance meeting with manager Adrian Millar. An agreement was signed between Corby and Millar on 4 September 1974, and auditions were held to fill out the remaining members.
Tony Brock was the third member of the group to join after Waite. Brock was playing with a group called Strider. Brock was already an established rock drummer, but some financial difficulties with Strider, and the opportunity to join a group with sound financial backing like Corby and Millar's project, made him decide to take a chance with this group instead. The last member to join the line-up was Wally Stocker.
In 1977 they purchased a 24 track mobile unit with which to record their music. They went to a ranch house in the Malibu mountains and put down the tracks in six weeks. The influences of the songs came about from their first year in Los Angeles and the culture shock of their relocation there.
The names "Cry Babys" and "Big Babys" were also proposed with Millar ultimately deciding on "The Babys."
In a 1979 Hit Parader magazine interview, Waite stated,
"The name was meant to be a joke. We took the name simply because the record companies wouldn't listen to any bands they thought were rock & roll. I mean, they wanted sure-fire teen bands, pre-teen bands. We couldn't get anybody down to hear us to get a record deal, so we called ourselves The Babys. We thought we'd keep the name just for two weeks. Then, the word got around in London that there was a band playing rock & roll called The Babys and it seemed so off the wall, so completely crazy, that it was worth taking a shot with. It really appealed to everyone's sense of humor."
The Babys eponymous first album (highlighted by the single "If You've Got The Time"), was recorded in Toronto, Canada with producers Brian Christian and Bob Ezrin and released in January 1977, although it appears that Millar and Corby were unhappy with the production.
Some critics felt the teen-friendly packaging on their second album, Broken Heart, may have affected the group's appeal to wider audiences, although it is claimed that it was part of an experiment by Corby with group members looking like characters from the film A Clockwork Orange. As far as record sales were concerned, The Babys seemed to live in the shadow of other Chrysalis artists Blondie, Pat Benatar, and Leo Sayer. The Babys second album, Broken Heart, (released in September 1977) produced a Top 20 U.S. hit, "Isn't It Time" (written by Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy), that peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard chart. They continued to tour the U.S. successfully with The Babettes, which included singers from Andrae Crouch and the Disciples: Lisa Freeman Roberts, Myrna Matthews and Pat Henderson. The album spent two weeks at No. 1 in Australia, but did not produce another Top 40 single.
Disputes with Chrysalis management resulted in the firing of original manager Millar in 1978.
Equipment Manager Ray Sheriff states:
"Almost immediately after Michael's leaving, the remainder of the band went into auditions for a replacement. In fact, two other musicians were hired with the idea, I believe, of promoting John Waite. Jonathan Cain, in fact, became Mike’s successor, but I am sure he had not been selected until after Mike left. The other musician was Ricky Phillips, who played bass. I think from what John, Wally and Tony said that it was they, and not Chrysalis, who selected these two successors, and I think that at about this same time Lookout Management ceased to be the band’s managers." 
Two American musicians became a part of the lineup the following year; keyboardist/guitarist Jonathan Cain replaced Corby, and bassist Ricky Phillips (of "Nasty Habit") joined in 1979, making it a five-piece band. Because Corby and Millar had the original documents for the band, Cain and Phillips were never contracted. The band's fourth album, Union Jacks, (released in January 1980) had a more punchy sound; the single, "Back on My Feet Again," spending a very short time in the Top 40. During an extensive tour in 1980, The Babys opened for Journey, a band that Jonathan Cain would soon join. The band's fifth album, On the Edge, was made during the 1980 tour, and released in October 1980. The single, "Turn and Walk Away," only reached the Top 100.
During a performance in Cincinnati on 9 December 1980 (the day after John Lennon had been murdered), John Waite was pulled from the stage by an overzealous fan during an encore and seriously injured his knee. Following a subsequent final performance by the group in Akron, Ohio, the remainder of the tour was cancelled, and the group disbanded following the tour. Although different members of the group have given various reasons for the band's demise, the general issue seems to have been disillusionment that the group never really achieved the success they felt they deserved given the quality of their albums and live shows. Waite later mused, "We were better than people thought we were."[dead link]
Following the breakup, John Waite pursued what would become a moderately successful solo career, while Jonathan Cain joined Journey right when the band was on the precipice of success. Waite and Cain would reunite with Ricky Phillips at the end of the 1980s to form the hard rock/glam rock-infused supergroup Bad English, scoring several hits from their 1989 self-titled album. Tony Brock spent many years drumming for Rod Stewart, as well as drumming and co-producing for Jimmy Barnes and producing for Keith Urban. Wally Stocker also went on to play guitar for Rod Stewart and briefly joined Air Supply, as well as a reformed version of Humble Pie in the 1990s. Wally Stocker and Tony Brock have not worked with John Waite since the breakup and there have been no rumors of any kind of reunion for the 1979 lineup.
|Year||Album||Billboard 200||Record Label|
|On the Edge||71|
|1981||Anthology (compilation album)||138|
|2001||Valentine Babys (live album)||-||EMI|
|2008||Live in America
(remastered expanded reissue of Valentine Babys)
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|Billboard Hot 100||UK Singles Chart|
|1977||"If You've Got the Time"||88||—||The Babys|
|"Isn't It Time"||13||45||Broken Heart|
|"Every Time I Think of You"||13||—||Head First|
|"True Love True Confessions"||—||—||Union Jacks|
|"Back on My Feet Again"||33||—|
|"Turn and Walk Away"||42||—||On the Edge|
- Wally Stocker - lead guitar (1975–81, 2013–present)
- Tony Brock - drums, backing vocals (1975–81, 2013–present)
- John Bisaha - lead vocals, bass guitar (2013–present)
- Joey Sykes - guitars (2013–present)
- John Waite - lead vocals (1975–81), bass guitar (1975–79)
- Michael Corby - keyboards, rhythm guitar (1975–79)
- Jonathan Cain - keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing & lead vocals (1979–81)
- Ricky Phillips - bass guitar (1979–81)
- JP Cervoni - guitars (2013)
- Pop Scene - Australia's International Pop Magazine, issue No 2, Gordon and Gotch, 1977.
- John Waite FAQ-The Babys.[dead link]
- Life Story of John Waite - The Babys.[dead link]
- The Babys Official Unofficial Archives and Chronological History - Introduction[dead link]
- The Babys Official Archives and Chronological History - Bio[dead link]