Missing You

Album: No Brakes (1984)
Charted: 9 1
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This song appears in the following movies:

    22 Jump Street (2014)
    Selena (1997)
    Let It Be Me (1995)

Comments: 16

  • Rosie from New York City BabyI’ve met John Waite a few times and was on the phone a few times Missing You will always be my favorite song of his I remember as a kid growing up in the 80s. For the record I’m 43 years old my parents had just gotten divorced a year and a half earlier imagine a little girl felt the pain of watching her parents marriage fall apart while her mother is pregnant with her fourth child my little brother did I miss my dad at all at the time absolutely not do I miss him these days hell yeah he’s been gone 3 years since April Rest In Peace pops Michael Weinstein February 28-1934 April 27-2018 ex Marine served in Korean War.
  • Left Body Kick from Middle Class Usa When I hear this song I think of someone I was with for about seven years. John says:
    “ every time I think of you, I always catch my breath.”

    Well I think about her all the time because she was a special woman in my life during my late 30’s and early to mid 40’s.
    But when I see pictures of us together, it does take my breath away and I actually smile.

    I haven’t smiled in a long time aside from here and there because there is no f--king reason to. During the pandemic I do the same goddamn thing every day. Routine and more routine, just like you’re locked up.

    I remember little things about her that I miss:
    1) she would tell me “anywhere with you Franco.” ( I will never forget that because no one has ever said that to me and she was sincere when she said it )
    2) she would tell me “Hurry it’s cold!” When she was in bed and I would be about to get in as I was brushing my teeth.
    3) when she touched me with her hand, it was like I felt energy. Like I could be happy. As if she could “heal me.”
    4) she had the most sincere and beautiful smile in our pictures together. I still think about that all the time.

    You ask what happened...?
    Well, a lot of things happened. I guess we started arguing more because certain expectations were not being fulfilled and the relationship wasn’t going in the direction she wanted. And that’s totally ok because it takes two to tango. And I know she was ready for certain things that I wasn’t ready for, and I may never be. Then during the pandemic I got some surprise health problems and diagnoses and now I got that s--t to contend with. I just take things day by day now.

    I miss her and those times. I miss the old days. I miss the times when I wouldn’t sleep because I knew I’d see her the next day and I would wake up at 3 AM to get ready have pre-workout food and drive up to Santa Barbara to work out with her at her gym at 5 AM.
    Before we would takeoff to go somewhere together, the night before I could never really sleep.

    I’ll never forget her.
    When I drink or take weed, I think about her and our times together.

    Salud Diosa
  • Tbg from IaThis song is meaningful to me as it relates to my beloved departed wife and it seems to correspond to our connection which remains, even in "death".
  • Jeff Allen from FloridaSong was used in 22 Jumpstreet.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 28th 1984, John Waite performed "Missing You" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...One month earlier on June 17th, 1984 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and on September 16th, 1984 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 {24 weeks}...And on September 29th, 1984 it also reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...Between 1984 and 1995 he had ten Top 100 records, his next biggest hit was "Every Step of the Way", and it peaked at #25 in 1985...John Charles Waite celebrated his 62nd birthday twenty four days ago on July 4th, 2014.
  • Marc from -, MdFirst-ever interview with the girl in this video, including what she's doing now and never-published pics: http://noblemania.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-girl-in-video-missing-you-1984.html
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis is the ultimate denial song. Most of us have had that feeling, telling our friends and ourselves that you're "over" that other person; you're fine and ready to move on. All the while you're dying inside. That's why it was such a big hit, it had almost universal appeal to both men and women. We've all been there.
  • Jamie from Des Moines, IaI love the possibilty that while Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It" was #1 on the charts and John Waites' "Missing You" was #2, Tina was listening to John's song and saying to herself, "I love that song!" Her version thumps a lot more than John's, but I love both and play them back to back all the time.
  • Eric from Melville, NyI'm a huge John Waite fan, have all his solo and Babys albums. He is so under rated as a writer and singer. Saw him in small venues 3 times, and even have a picture of John and I. All the best to him in the future.
  • Nicole from Kenosha, WiThis song is featured in Grand Theft auto Vice City. Great song.
  • Dani from Boston, MaJohn Waite has a truly wonderful voice. To me it sounds so innocent, I love how it links to the song. It's great.
  • Chantrelle from Hattiesburg, MsTina Turner did a remake of this song in 1996 on her Wildest Dreams album. Interestingly, in 1984, Missing You and What's Love Got To Do With it competed for #1 on the top billboard charts.
  • Grace from Fairfax Station, VaPeople don't like this song because they think it's contradicting. However, if you read the lyrics carefully, you'll see the guy really does miss her but is in denial ("I can lie to myself").
  • Pablo from Miami, FlThe song was featured on the second episode of "Miami Vice"(Heart Of Darkness). This was several days after it reached the number one spot on the billboard charts.
  • Rich from Elkins, WvI like this song too..great music and vocals... Some of the best songs/poems are written after a hurtful break-up ....It's therapy.
  • Nefer from Kalamazoo, MiOne of the great sing along songs of all time. John Waite has such a great unique voice and the lyrics are wonderful. One of my favorites.
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