John Waite - vocals; Jonathan Cain - keyboards, vocals; Ricky Phillips - bass; Wally Stocker - guitar; Tony Brock - drums
This show was part of a two-night stint at New York's famed Bottom Line club. It was, in some ways, a coming out party for England's Babys. Although the band had already released three records, they were promoting Head First, their breakthrough U.S. album. This show was one of three performances recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1979. The Babys had gone through a recent transition and were debuting their new lineup that included new members Ricky Phillips on bass and Jonathon Cain on keyboards, who would go on to become a key member in Journey.
The Babys emerged in 1975 from what was left of the U.K. punk movement. 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 group's biggest songs are featured in this set, including "Head First," "Run to Mexico," "California," "Every Time I Think Of You" and of course, their biggest smash from 1977, "Isn't It Time." They end the show with a rousing remake of the Motown classic, "Money (That's What I Want)."
The Babys had the necessary elements to hit the big time, but the label put the focus on singer John Waite. Waite, a great singer but a mediocre performer, certainly had the looks and the voice to be a bona fide rock star. 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 Jonathon Cain entitled Bad English.