John Waite – Missing You

John Waite was inspired by Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman while writing this song. The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #9 in the UK and #18 in New Zealand in 1984.

The songwriters Mark Leonard and Charles Sandford wrote the music for this song. Sandford also wrote the Stevie Nicks hit “Talk To Me” and co-wrote “What Kind Of Man Would I Be?” for Chicago. Leonard wrote the music for the 1986 movie Back To School and also co-wrote “Let Me Be The One,” which was recorded by Terri Nunn. John Waite wrote the lyrics. He was going through troubles with his wife and they soon would get divorced.

John Waite: I was getting divorced. I was trying to get home because my marriage was in genuine trouble – everything was wrong and it had been wrong for a while. I’d met someone in New York City when I was making my first solo album. I was alone and I was friends with another girl I met. So Missing You was essentially about three different women, I think, looking back on it. I was singing about New York, and distance, the caving in of my marriage, and the options that I had. It was bittersweet – it was about the end of my marriage and the beginning of something new. Although, when I was singing ‘I ain’t missing you’, it was denial too.

From Songfacts

This song came at a very emotional time for Waite, who lays down his burdens in his sentimental lyrics and passionate vocal performance. In our interview with John Waite, he explained that the song was about a phone call.

Waite got married in his native England before moving to New York, where he recorded his first solo album, Ignition, which was released in 1984. The album was a disappointment, and after some squabbles with his record company (Chrysalis), he returned to England and settled into married life. After extricating from his contract, he signed a new deal with EMI and returned to New York, leaving his wife behind while he made his second album, No Brakes.

“My wife was a long way away,” Waite said in a Songfacts interview. “There were quite a few women in my life at the time, and it all came sort of floating to the top.”

Waite’s feelings poured out of him in the song – on one level, he missed his wife dearly, but on a more superficial plane he didn’t miss her at all, which is what he sang on the refrain: “I ain’t missing you at all.”

The song encapsulates the disconsolation that comes with long distance love. Waite and his wife would later divorce.

One of the more memorable parts of this song happened spontaneously. Said Waite: “I had no idea I was going to sing, ‘Missing you, since you’ve been gone away, I ain’t missing you no matter what my friends say.’ I had no idea I was going to sing that, and when it came out, it floored me. I stood back from the mic, and I thought, ‘F–k it. Number 1.’ I just knew. I just knew in my heart that it was that good.”

Tina Turner took this song to #12 in the UK when she recorded it on her 1996 album Wildest Dreams. Around the same time, the soul singer Millie Jackson also recorded the song, but Turner released her version first. Jackson told us: “I recorded ‘Missing You’ And I was all excited about it, it was gonna be my next single, and the guys at Muscle Shoals said, ‘Boy you got the song out quick! I heard it at a truck stop.’ And I’m trying to figure out how in the world did they hear my song at a truck stop when it won’t be out for two weeks. And of course it was Tina Turner and we had to pull the single and come back with a different one.”

John Waite was the lead singer of a group called the Babys, whose 1978 song “Every Time I Think Of You” reached #13 in the US. Waite cribbed a lyric from that song (which was written by the songwriters Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy) to get him started on “Missing You.” Compare the opening lyrics to these songs:

“Every Time I Think Of You” – “Every time I think of you, it always turns out good.”
“Missing You” – “Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath.”

Once he had the first line, the rest of the lyrics flowed downhill, and the rest of it was written in about 10 minutes. Waite told Songfacts: “I sang the whole first verse, bridge, and chorus without stopping. Then I had to stop, I was so overwhelmed. I stood back from the mic and I couldn’t speak. Then I just rolled the tape again and got on with it.”

Some of the symbolism in this song was inspired by Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” and Free’s “Catch A Train.” Both songs depict lonely scenarios far from a loved one.

The song was a last-minute addition to the album, but Waite had no trouble convincing his crew that it needed to be on the tracklist. “I took the tape down to the guys in the studio who were mixing, thinking the record was finished, and I knew it wasn’t, since we didn’t have ‘Missing You,'” he told us. “I played it in the control room and everybody stopped talking. It had that effect on people from the word go. It was one of those songs that defined a decade, really. It was one of the biggest. I think it’s been played about 9, 10 million times on American radio – it’s a huge thing.”

The video was in hot rotation on MTV, which helped the song climb to #1 in the US. In the clip, Waite gives a tortured performance, but what he was feeling at the time was more anxiety than heartbreak. “You can tell how shy I was at the time,” he told us. “I’m trying to sing this song and sort of look at the camera and then not look at the camera. I’m embarrassed, you know. I mean, it’s okay being on stage, because you’re in some sort of persona. But being filmed was a new experience for me on that level. I suppose it was kind of charming. But there was a million places I would rather be than being filmed at that point in my life.”

Kort Falkenberg III, who also did Waite’s video for “Change,” directed the clip. It was shot in downtown Los Angeles near Pershing Square. “The biggest thing I remember about ‘Missing You’ is that the night before I went down to Let It Rock, which was a clothes store on Melrose Avenue,” said Waite. “I bought a Johnson suit, this black two-piece suit from London that was a beautiful suit. Tiny. I was very thin at the time. And then I went and had all my hair shaved off. I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this, I’m going to go in whole hog, you know. I’m just going to do it flat out European.’

I showed up with a black suit and a crew cut, and it worked. I do everything on instinct, basically, and half of the time it’s a bullseye.”

Waite performed this on the short-lived ABC TV series Paper Dolls in 1984.

This was used in second episode of Miami Vice, “Heart of Darkness,” which aired September 28, 1984. At the time, it was the #1 song in America, landing at the top on September 22. Miami Vice spent big bucks on music and used many contemporary songs throughout the series’ five-year run. Exposure on the show also helped the artists because the show was undeniably cool. Phil Collins got the biggest boost when “In The Air Tonight” featured in the first episode.

Missing You

Everytime I think of you
I always catch my breath
And I’m still standing here
And you’re miles away
And I’m wonderin’ why you left

And there’s a storm that’s raging
Through my frozen heart tonight

I hear your name in certain circles
And it always makes me smile
I spend my time thinkin’ about you
And it’s almost driving me wild

And there’s a heart that’s breaking
Down this long distance line tonight
I ain’t missing you at all (Missing you)
Since you’ve been gone away (Missing you)
I ain’t missing you (Missing you)
No matter what I might say (Missing you)

There’s a message in the wire
And I’m sending you this signal tonight
You don’t know how desperate I’ve become
And it looks like I’m losing this fight
In your world I have no meaning
Though I’m trying hard to understand

And it’s my heart that’s breaking
Down this long distance line tonight
I ain’t missing you at all (Missing you)
Since you’ve been gone away (Missing you)
Oh hey, I ain’t missing you (Missing you)
No matter what my friends say (Missing you)

And there’s a message that I’m sending out
Like a telegraph to your soul
And if I can’t bridge this distance
Stop this heartbreak overload
I ain’t missing you at all (Missing you)
Since you’ve been gone away (Missing you)
I ain’t missing you (Missing you)
No matter what my friends say (Missing you)

I ain’t missing you (Missing you)
I ain’t missing you, I can’t lie to myself (Missing you)

And there’s a storm that’s raging
Through my frozen heart tonight
I ain’t missing you at all (Missing you)
Since you’ve been gone away (Missing you)
I ain’t missing you (Missing you)
No matter what my friends say (Missing you)

Ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you,
I can’t lie to myself
Ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you
I ain’t missing you
Ain’t missing you, oh no

No matter what my friends might say
I ain’t missing you

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “John Waite – Missing You”

    1. Yea I sold out a little on this one. I personally like Changes much better but I don’t post number 1s a whole lot…I thought I
      would on this one. It is a good song but not his best.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It be o-ver. Whew. Loved seeing some folks. Tried to avoid others. LOL!

        The setting was great. One of our classmates has a farm/ranch thing with a beautiful home, vaulted hardwood ceilings, patio, fountain, garage/mancave with a roof extension…land as far as the eye can see, rolled hay bales (that always reminds me of giant chessboard pieces)…

        Must be nice to have money.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep…I’ve stayed in touch with most people I wanted to lol….

        Wouldn’t it be? Sounds like you had a good time and that is all that matters.

        I love hardwood ceilings…sounds awesome.

        Like

      3. This thing…man. It was 19 feet high and looked like a church…you know the section behind the podium for baptizing? This had a cut out in the wall with a shelf. There was a mural painted on the cut out wall and plastic, possibly stuffed mallards displayed in front, giving it a 3D quality. Deer heads with big racks on either side. It looked like some rich man’s hunting cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains. Her hubby was clearly an avid hunter.

        There was also a Confederate flag rolled up and standing in the corner of the mancave/garage…most likely taken down from the side of his building. Nobody said anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yea I know the type of place you are talking about. Love those kind of places. I like high cielings…that is how we ended up in an A frame. I went wild with our first two Chrstimas trees here….14 foot high! No more…getting on a ladder to add a star got old.

        Since you were guest…yea no one was going to say anything….You would find a British one in my music room lol.

        Like

      5. Yea I went over board but we loved it…but that was enough…now a 6 foot will do.

        Oh no…sometimes people do a double take at the Union Jack and then realize what it is.

        Yep I’ve seen those. That is appropriate for your class.

        Like

      1. I had guys I went to school with that had earrings. I do remember the guys making sure it was one earring on the left. If one showed up on the right, they claimed it meant you were gay.

        Waite just acted effeminate and he was thin, as he stated. He wasn’t very masculine-shaped. He was kinda gender-bendy…to my young mind, anyway. In today’s standards, he’s a metrosexual male.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The other day I was at Barnes and Noble- and saw a new book- called The Wichita Lineman… of course I had to buy it. Pretty good read…. I always heard some “Every Breathe You Take”- in “Missing You.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When I hear John Waite- the first thing I always think of is- a friend in high school when The Baby’s came out- predicted they would be the next Beatles… I’ve made bad predictions myself but….they fell a little short there…

        Liked by 1 person

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