The members decided on a name for the band while playing pool. John Waite missed a shot and Jonathan Cain made a comment on how bad his "english" was (referring to the spin a player puts on the cue ball) and the band decided to use the phrase. This official story differs from the urban legend suggesting that "Bad English" was chosen to mock the name of some of the members' previous band, The Babys, a name which is obviously misspelled.
Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neal Schon, who had enjoyed enormous success in Journey, continued on to form Bad English with Waite after Journey disbanded. The first album, eponymously titled, was a big seller with three hit singles (including the number one hit When I See You Smile written by Diane Warren) and top 10 hit "Price of Love" and "Possession". Another track from the debut album, the AOR song "Best of What I Got", as featured in the soundtrack to 1989's Tango and Cash.
The band's second album, 1991's "Backlash" came and went without any fanfare. The one and only single "Straight To Your Heart" just missed the Top 40, bailing out at #42. Ricky Phillips writes on his website that the group had parted company before the second album had been mixed. Both Phillips and guitarist Neil Schon expressed frustration with the "pop" side of the bands songs and wanted a harder edge. In the end, it proved to be the band's undoing as everyone left to pursue other projects.
The band had enjoyed a brief but rewarding experience of playing glam metal. The second album, Backlash, was released well after the group had disbanded.
In later interviews Waite revealed that although he loved playing to stadium sized audiences, he was uncomfortable with the corporate rock image that he felt the band had presented, and has been a solo artist ever since.
Bad English drummer Deen Castronovo later went on to join a reformed Journey with singer Steve Augeri, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, and Ross Valory. He also played on Ozzy Osbourne's album Ozzmosis in 1995. Bad English was the reunion concert in Vienna and Berlin in March 2008.