John Waite - vocals; Jonathan Cain - keyboards, vocals; Ricky Phillips - bass; Wally Stocker - guitar; Tony Brock - drums
The Babys had been one of the most hyped bands to emerge from the English scene in 1976, and seemed to be headed for a long run atop the FM radio charts. Despite a few very big hits—including "Isn't It Time" and "Every Time I Think Of You," the band's momentum was eventually eclipsed by the popular new wave alternative scene championed by acts like Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, and Joe Jackson. But at the time the Babys' self-titled debut album was released, adult-oriented rock radio was still a very vibrant format, and the group received enough attention to become bona fide rock stars. Singer John Waite, who had originally launched the group as its bassist, was now out front leading vocals.
This show, one of several recorded in 1979 for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, is essentially a Best Of collection (the group was nearing the end of the line and would disband in the next year as Waite would go solo). "Money," "Every time I Think Of You," "Isn't It Time," "Head First," and "California" are all featured in this show.
At the time of this recording, the Babys had just released their third record, Head First, which was initially rejected by their label, Chrysalis Records. During the album sessions, they replaced original keyboardist Mike Corby with Jonathon Cain, who would leave in a matter of years to join Journey. They also recruited a second bass player, Ricky Phillips. (Jack Conrad, who joined after the first album, had left during the recording sessions for Head First).
The Babys emerged in 1975 just as the U.K. punk movement was erupting. The band never embraced punk, and focused instead on well-crafted power pop. They didn't really see any substantial success in their native U.K., but their sound was perfect for the growing FM power hits format in the U.S. and the band's label, Chrysalis, capitalized on this.
The Babys had the necessary elements to hit the big time, but the label put the focus on singer John Waite. In the end, Chrysalis and the band's management would let the band gradually dissolve so it could launch Waite's solo career. He had a somewhat successful solo stint, which was temporarily put on hold in the early 1990s when he formed another band with Jonathan Cain entitled Bad English.