John Waite has primarily been a rocker throughout his career, including tenures with bands such as the Babys and Bad English as well as his solo work. But it's a ballad, "Missing You," that was his sole chart-topper and most enduring musical moment.
And with the song turning 30 this year, the British-born singer is, not surprisingly, sentimental about its place in his life.
"The odd thing about getting older is you remember moments -- the women you loved, the places you've been and traveled, what you've done with the time you've been given," notes Waite, 62. "I wake up and almost expect to be back sleeping on a crash pad in New York, mattress on the floor, desperate for something to happen.
"You look back at it and think, 'Did I really come that far? Did I survive that?' But it's been a great life -- a tough life but a great one, and that's what I wanted."
Waite has used the occasion of "Missing You's" 30th anniversary to record a fresh version of the song, along with some of his other older material, for the new compilation "Best," which came out in May. This time he did it as a duet with Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, although Waite says it took a minute for the collaboration to really click for the song.
"She's the best. She was my first choice and my last," Waite says. "She came down one afternoon and we got on very well, but I didn't think we got it. So I asked her to come back a second afternoon; I don't know what she thought, but she came back and we nailed it inside an hour.
"I think if you give her 24 hours to think about it and give myself 24 hours to think about how to sing it, it's going to change things for the better. It's two different worlds; she's got a very distinct, angelic voice and I have more edge in mine. So trying to place my voice in a more conversational tone to hers was the right way to go, and we just nailed it that second afternoon, which made both of us very happy."
John Waite with the Doobie Brothers
7 p.m. Wednesday, August 27
Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights
Tickets are $25-$75 pavilion, $10 pavilion
Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.freedomhill.net
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