The Babys is a British hard rock band that was active from 1975-1981. The band originally consisted of John Waite (lead singer), Michael Corby (guiter, keyboards), Tony Brock (drums) and Walter (Wally) Stocker (lead guitar). Michael Corby was released from the band in 1978 and was replaced by Jonathon Cain, who would later play a major role in the band Journey, and Ricky Phillips.
The group’s two biggest hits, both charting at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, were “Isn’t It Time” and “Every Time I Think Of You,” both written by Corby’s friends, Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy. The band had only one other Top 40 song, “Back On My Feet Again” #33. The band disbanded in 1981 and never performed together again until 2013. Band members, other than Michael Corby, went on to join various other bands or work as backup musicians.
Many wonder what would have happened if Corby had not been mysteriously dismissed. The band never had much success after he was forced out. Some of The Babys other hit songs include:
- Silver Dreams
- A Piece of the Action
- I’m Falling
- Midnight Rendezvous
- Head Above the Waves
- Turn and Walk Away
- If You’ve Got the Time
- Head First
- Give Me Your Love
- Broken Heart
- Love Don’t Prove Me Right
- Read My Stars
- Wild Man
- I Believe In Love
- And If You Could See Me Fly
- I Was One
- White Lightning
- Wrong or Right
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Is (Alive and Kicking)
- Turn Around In Tokyo
- Too Far Gone
- Love Is Just a Mystery
- Jesus Are You There
- Run To Mexico
Musician Mike Corby founded the Babys by chance during the early 70s music era, when he stumbled upon Adrian Millar at a London pub. Millar would become the band’s manager.
After a round of auditions held by Corby and Millar, the group was finally completed by John Waite (vocals, bass), Wally Stocker (guitars) and Tony Brock (drums). In 1977 the group left England and went to California, United States and started recording there demos there. Naming themselves the Babys, they were eventually signed to Chrysalis Records.
The Babys recorded and released their self-titled debut album in early 1977, which carried the single “If You’ve Got Time,” which was only a minor Billboard Hot 100 hit. Apparently, the group and their manager had been dissatisfied by the results of the album’s production.
Their sophomore effort Broken Heart was released in September 1977. At least it fared better than their first LP, and produced a hit single “Isn’t It Time?” Written by Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy, the single reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 (#49 on the Billboard adult contemporary singles chart). In terms of record sales within the Chrysalis camp, the Babys were somewhat left in the shade by other artists such as Blondie and Pat Benatar, who were connected with the growing punk and new wave scene. Broken Heart also went to number one on the Australian chart
Changes in the band’s lineup, and eventual split
However, Millar’s growing tensions with the Chrysalis led to his dismissal as the group’s manager.
While recording for their next album Head First in 1978, Corby left (or was fired) apparently due to disputes within the band. His now ex-band members went on to complete the production of the album. Head First went to #22 on the Billboard 200 in 1979. Its single “Every Time I Think You” became the band’s second Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 at #13.
The Babys later launched an audition for Corby’s replacement behind the keyboards. American keyboardist Jonathan Cain was eventually chosen as Corby’s successor. Another American musician, bassist Ricky Philips (ex-Nasty Habit member) also became a member of The Babys. They released another album Union Jacks in early 1980, the first album by the new lineup; its single “Back on My Feet Again” went to #33 on the Hot 100.
However, the difficulties of both touring and trying to break into the American mainstream eventually took a toll on the Babys. And unlike what the title of their last Top 40 hit suggests, they weren’t able to get back on their feet. The group disbanded in 1981, following their troublesome December 1980 tour.
After the Babys
Waite pursued a solo career and managed to have a moderately successful career (highlighted by the US number one hit song “Missing You” in 1984). Cain joined another band named Journey, who once opened for the Babys way back then. Cain played a big role to Journey’s astronomical success on the charts; he performed the piano/keyboards on Journey songs such as “Don’t Stop Believin'” which is now a classic rock tune. Oldies music fans who grew up with their music will surely feel nostalgic whenever hearing their hits.
In 1987 Waite, Cain and Phillips later reunited as members of the supergroup Bad English, along with Journey’s guitarist Neal Schon as well as seasoned drummer Deen Castronovo (who went on to join Journey).
Brock worked with several artists from Rod Stewart to Keith Urban, while Stocker joined the touring lineup of Air Supply.
Reforming the Babys
Original members Brock and Stocker brought back the Babys in 2013 along with newer members John Bisaha (vocals, bass) and Joey Sykes (guitars), who are both Americans. In this latest lineup the Baby released I’ll Have Some of That in 2014 — the band’s first outing in over three decades. The album is now available on both physical and digital formats.