Bad English are not a wannable hair metal band. They are one of the finest melodic bands to come from the AOR genre. Considered by many to be one of AOR’s most spectacular super groups, provided a perfect blend of radio-friendly rockers and powerful ballads, with spellbinding guitar licks, smooth keyboards and great vocals. Former Babys frontman John Waite was enjoying a successful solo career when he signed with Epic records in 1988. However, for his next albu he had decided he didn’t want to continue as a solo artist, and instead wanted to build another band. He recruited former Babys’ bassist Ricky Phillips and keyboardist Jonathan Cain (ex-Journey member). Cain names the band
Bad Engllish, and invites his former Journey colleague Neal Schon (guitar) to join. Schon brings along session drummer Deen Castronovo and the group is solidified. Waite and Cain continue their songwriting collaborations from their Babys days, with Schon contributing on many of the tracks on the album. The combination of writers seems to be the key that keeps the band from sounding too much like either The Babys or Journey, but ironically their best known song “When I See You Smile” was written by an external songwriter (Diane Warren). The album is produced by Richie Zito (Heart, White Lion, Cult, etc.) so the production quality is slick, albiet pretty typical 80s style with big drums.
The band scored two huge hits on the Billboard charts including the #1 hit “When I See You Smile” and #5 hit “Price of Love”, while the whole album slowly reached #21 on the Billboard charts and went platinum inAmerica.
The album includes many exceptional tracks but lets focus on some truly great songs, like the opener “Best Of What I Got”, start off with a horn section that shows the brass balls that Bad English had to combine, with a sweet Neal Schon guitar phrase, while Waite breaks his pop-rock label and shows that he can rock with the best of them. On “Price Of Love”, Schon throws in soulful guitar runs any chance he gets, because this one is mainly Waite in front of emotionally driven keyboards. Deen Castronovo’s drum work compliments Schon’s rapid-fire licks on “Ready When You Are”, while the sexually charged anthem “Rockin’ Horse” relies on blues rock riffage with a driving drum beat and soulful vocal melodies. “Heaven Is A Four Letter Word” stacks crunchy guitar riffs over strong melodic vocals, completed by harmony chorus. The song that broke the group of cource was “When I See You Smile”, which eventually shot to number on on the Billboard charts.
This was also the song that more or less pigeon-holed the band as a balladeers. When you hear the catchy keyboard intro, you know instantly what song it is. Closing this short review with my personal favorite track “Ghost In Your Heart”a melodic keyboard driven ballad with catchy chorus and great lyrics that reflect the mood of the song perfectly and the amazing rockin’ effort “Forget Me Not” and its memorable melodic tune. A major hit at rock radio, spending two weeks at #2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
The rest of the album is chock full of melodic hard rock standard fare that sounds a little bit dated today but a much needed AOR antidote to hair metal mania back in 1989. Bad English was one of those bands which you were proud of discoverin’ if you were atennin the late 80s. I’m sure it will bring back some great memories for anyone growing up during that time. This is how AOR should and must sound!!!
John Waite vocals
Neal Schon guitars, vocals
Jonathan Cain keyboards, vocals
Ricky Phillips bass, vocals
Deen Castronovo drums, vocals
1. Best of What I Got
2. Heaven is a 4 Letter Word
4. Forget Me Not
5. When I See You Smile
6. Tough Times Don’t Last
7. Ghost in Your Heart
8. Price of Love
9. Ready When You Are
10. Lay Down
11. The Restless Ones
12. Rockin’ Horse
13. Don’t Walk Away
Review by http://melodic-hardrock.com