Bad English was a supergroup comprised of lead singer John Waite, keyboard player Jonathan Cain
, bass player Ricky Phillips, guitarist Neal Schon and drummer Deen Castronovo. Waite, Cain and Phillips had been in a popular British band called the Babys, while Schon, Castronovo and Cain were in Journey (Cain was in both groups). It was quite an assemblage of musical talent, and between them they wrote 11 of the 13 songs on their self-titled debut album. "When I See You Smile" wasn't one of them.
The song was written by Diane Warren, who had a knack for supplying popular rock musicians with pop hits: she wrote "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
" for Starship, "Who Will You Run To" for Heart, and "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
" for Aerosmith. She had also written the song "Don't Lose Any Sleep," which appeared on Waite's 1987 solo album Rover's Return
The band was signed to Epic Records, whose A&R man Don Grierson implored them to record a hit. They liked him, so when he suggested "When I See You Smile," the band agreed to record it, since they knew it would supply Grierson with his hit.