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 #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 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.
In August 1978, a replacement for Michael Corby was sought and the The Babys added two musicians: 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.
In 2013 it was announced that Brock and Stocker had reformed the band, alongside vocalist/bassist John Bisaha and guitarist Joey Sykes.
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 the late Adrian Millar. An agreement was signed between Corby and Millar on 4 September 1974, and auditions were held to fill out the remaining members.
In their search for a drummer Waite and Corby found Tony Brock who was playing with a group called Strider. Brock was having some financial difficulties with that group and decided to take a chance with this group instead. The last member to join the line-up was Walt 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,
Music videos were produced by Mike Mansfield for Supersonic, and Chrysalis Records signed the band in 1976.
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 #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 #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.
The Americans: Cain and Phillips
Equipment Manager Ray Sheriff states:
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 similar to fellow label-mate Pat Benatar, with 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 supergroup Journey, a band that Jonathan Cain would soon join. The band's fifth and final 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."
John Waite, Ricky Phillips and Jonathan Cain later played together in the hard rock/glam rock-infused supergroup Bad English. By this time, Cain had already gone on to enjoy great success with Journey. 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 went on to play guitar for Rod Stewart and 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. And given the persistent acrimony surrounding Corby's departure from the group, there is also little chance of the original 1976 lineup ever getting together again.
Reforming The Babys
In 2013, The Babys reformed with originals Tony Brock and Wally Stocker, and two new members - American John Bisaha (The Nameless, Azure Blue, Hall of Souls, BISAHA) on Vocals and Bass, along with American guitarist Joey Sykes (Boystown, Coward, Meredith Brooks). The debut of the new look Babys happened in the summer of 2013, at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California. Live, the band features keyboardist Francesco Saglietti and 'The Babettes' - Holly and Elisa. New songs are being recorded for a new album to be released. Tour dates to follow.
- 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)
- The Babys - The Babys Official website
- Tony Brock - Tony Brock's Silver Dreams Studio
- John Waite - John Waite Official European website
- John Waite - John Waite Official
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Image from Discogs