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Foreigner

Read Foreigner's biography



Foreigner - Foreigner (Atlantic SD 19109) (1977)

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ITEM# SR-AT19109
Ratings: C=NM; LP=NM-

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Artist:

Foreigner

Title:

Foreigner

Released: 1977
Label: Atlantic
Catalog: SD 19109
Genre: Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Feels Like The First Time
02 Cold As Ice
03 Starrider
04 Headknocker
05 The Damage Is Done
06 Long, Long Way From Home
07 Woman Oh Woman
08 At War With The World
09 Fool For You Anyway
10 I Need You
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Album Review

Andy Hinds [allmusic.com]

Although punk rock's furious revolution threatened to overthrow rock's old guard in 1977, bands like Foreigner came along and proved that there was plenty of room in the marketplace for both the violent, upstart minimalism of punk and the airbrushed slickness of what would be called "arena rock." Along with Boston, Journey, Heart, and others, Foreigner celebrated professionalism over raw emotion. And, looking back, it's easy to see why they sold millions; not everyone in the world was pissed off, dissatisfied with the economy, or even necessarily looking for a change. In fact, for most suburban American teens, Foreigner's immaculate rock sound was the perfect soundtrack for cruising through well-manicured neighborhoods in their Chevy Novas. The album spawned some of the biggest FM hits of 1977, including the anthemic "Feels Like the First Time" and "Cold as Ice," both of which were anchored -- like most of Foreigner's songs -- by the muscular but traditional riffing of guitarist Mick Jones, the soaring vocals of Lou Gramm, and the state-of-the-art rock production values of the day, which allowed the band to sound hard but polished. As pure rock craftsmanship goes, Foreigner was as good as it got in the late '70s.


Foreigner - Double Vision [Atlantic SD 19999] (20 June 1978)

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ITEM# SR-ATSD19999
Ratings: C=VG; LP=VG-

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Artist:

Foreigner

Title:

Double Vision

Released: 20 June 1978
Label: Atlantic
Catalog: SD 19999
Genre: Rock


Matrix / Runout (Side A):
ST-A-784097-G

Matrix / Runout (Side B):
ST-A-784098-G
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Hot Blooded
02 Blue Morning, Blue Day
03 You're All I Am
04 Back Where You Belong
05 Love Has Taken Its Toll
06 Double Vision
07 Tramontane
08 I Have Waited So Long
09 Lonely Children
10 Spellbinder
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Album Review

Andy Hinds [allmusic.com]

Foreigner promptly followed up its blockbuster debut with the equally successful Double Vision LP in 1978, which featured the FM mega-hits ''Hot Blooded'' and the driving title track. Opting not to mess with a good formula, the band wisely sticks to the polished hard rock sound that made its first record such a hit. Aside from the big singles, other highlights include the swaggering ''Love Has Taken Its Toll'' and the more restrained ''Blue Morning, Blue Day.'' As always, Lou Gramm's impeccable rock vocals lead the way, supported by Mick Jones' tasteful, arena-sized guitar riffs.


Foreigner: Agent Provocateur (1984)

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ITEM# SR-AT819991E
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Artist:

Foreigner

Title:

Agent Provocateur

Released: 1984
Label: Atlantic
Catalog: 81999-1-E
Genre: Rock / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Tooth And Nail
02 That Was Yesterday
03 I Want To Know What Love Is
04 Growing Up The Hard Way
05 Reaction To Action
06 Stranger In My Own House
07 A Love In Vain
08 Down On Love
09 Two Different Worlds
10 She's Too Tough
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Album Review

by Bret Adams [allmusic.com]

It took Foreigner three years to release a follow-up to its 1981 blockbuster, 4. Perhaps that wait wasn't long enough, because Agent Provocateur is a prime example of the best and worst traits of AOR: a handful of remarkable songs padded by toothless filler. Despite contributing a few killer riffs to Foreigner's '70s canon, guitarist/keyboardist Mick Jones isn't known for his six-string abilities. His biggest strength is his knack for melody as a songwriter, keyboardist, and producer, and all these qualities are evident on Agent Provocateur. Of course, vocalist/songwriter Lou Gramm is indispensable as the band's golden-throated frontman. Jones largely guided things behind the studio console, but a co-producer usually helped, such as Alex Sadkin on this album. "I Want to Know What Love Is" became Foreigner's first and only number one single, and it's not hard to see why. Its dreamy, hypnotic feel is due in part to Gramm's soulful lead vocals and the New Jersey Mass Choir's background vocals. Jennifer Holliday and the Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey help out as well. "That Was Yesterday," a terrific hit single, features a catchy chorus and a nifty synthesizer lick. "Reaction to Action" and "Down on Love" were both minor hits, but there's a huge difference in quality between the two; the former is the epitome of bland, formulaic AOR, while the latter includes a pleasant chorus and a warm keyboard melody. "A Love in Vain" and "Growing Up the Hard Way" have a few good moments too.

Foreigner's Biography

by Greg Prato [allmusic.com]

While quite a few arena rock acts of the '70s found the transformation into the '80s quite difficult, several acts continued to flourish and enjoyed some of their biggest commercial success: Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, and especially Foreigner. Foreigner's leader from the beginning has been British guitarist Mick Jones, who first broke into the music biz as a "hired gun" of sorts, appearing on recordings by George Harrison and Peter Frampton, and as part of a later-day version of hard rockers Spooky Tooth. By the mid-'70s, Jones had relocated to New York City, where he was a brief member of the Leslie West Band and served as an A&R man for a record company. But it wasn't long before Jones felt the urge to be part of another rock outfit as he sought to put together a band that would be able to combine elements of rock, progressive, R&B, and pop into a single, cohesive style.

Jones soon assembled a group consisting of ex-King Crimson sax player Ian McDonald and ex-Ian Hunter drummer Dennis Elliot (both of whom were British), along with New York musicians Al Greenwood (keyboards), Ed Gagliardi (bass), and Lou Gramm (vocals), the latter of which was previously a member of an obscure '70s outfit called Black Sheep. Jones found immediate songwriting chemistry with Gramm (one of the first songs they wrote together was the eventual hit "Cold As Ice"), resulting in the newly formed band taking the name Foreigner and signing a recording contract with Atlantic Records. Foreigner's self-titled debut was issued in 1977 and became an immediate hit on the strength of the hit singles "Feels Like the First Time," "Long, Long Way From Home," and the aforementioned "Cold As Ice," as the album would eventually go platinum five times over.

Foreigner avoided the dreaded sophomore slump with an even stronger follow-up release, 1978's Double Vision, which spawned such further hit singles as "Hot Blooded" and its title track, and the album stayed in the Top Ten for a solid six months. As a result, the album's success established the sextet as an arena headliner and would go on to become Foreigner's best-selling album of their career (selling seven million copies in the U.S. alone by 2001). The group's third release overall, Head Games, followed in 1979 and marked the first of many subsequent lineup changes for the group, as Gagliardi was replaced by ex-Peter Frampton and Roxy Music bassist Rick Wills. While the album was another big seller and turned out to be their most straight-ahead musically, both Gramm and Jones felt that the album failed to break any new ground, something that they sought to correct on their next album.

The band's lineup was cut back to just a quartet consisting of Jones, Gramm, Elliot, and Wills as super-producer Mutt Lange (who was fresh off the success of AC/DC's classic Back in Black) was enlisted to oversee the proceedings. The ploy worked and the resulting 1981 release, 4, was another massive seller, spawning such further hit singles as "Urgent" (which featured a blazing sax solo from Motown vet Junior Walker), "Jukebox Hero," and the power ballad "Waiting for a Girl Like You." Although the latter tune was a massive hit, it confused some of the band's following as to whether Foreigner was a hard rock band or balladeers. In 1982, a stopgap best-of set, Records, was released and featured ten of band's biggest hit singles, remaining a steady seller to this day (becoming Foreigner's second album to achieve sales of seven million by 2001).

It took Foreigner three years to complete a follow-up to 4 with Agent Provocateur being issued in 1984. The band made the transition to the MTV video age without a hitch with the over-the-top, gospel-inflected ballad "I Want to Know What Love Is" (which featured the New Jersey Mass Choir) becoming one of the biggest MTV and radio hits that year. But despite the single's success, there was a noticeable dip in sales for Agent Provocateur when compared to their earlier albums due to the fact that the album wasn't as focused and strong overall as their previous recordings. After a mammoth nine-month tour wrapped up a year later, both Jones and Gramm focused on non-Foreigner projects during 1986. Jones produced Bad Company's Fame and Fortune and co-produced Van Halen's hit debut recording with Sammy Hagar, 5150, while Gramm worked on a solo debut. The release of both Gramm's solo album, Ready or Not, as well as Foreigner's sixth studio album overall, Inside Information, came in 1987. While both were successful and spawned Top Ten hits (Gramm with "Midnight Blue" and Foreigner with "Say You Will"), tension between Gramm and Jones came to a head regarding the singer's desire to focus on his solo career, which led to Gramm's split from Foreigner in 1989.

The same year as his split from Foreigner, Gramm issued his second solo album, Long Hard Look, which proved to be not as successful as its predecessor, while Jones produced Billy Joel's Storm Front and issued a star-studded self-titled solo debut. Jones, Elliot, and Wills tried to keep Foreigner afloat with a new singer, Johnny Edwards, issuing a largely ignored album in 1991, Unusual Heat, while Gramm fared no better with a new outfit, Shadow King, issuing a forgotten self-titled debut the same year. Seeing the error in their split, both Jones and Gramm listened to the advice of Atlantic Records and reunited for the recording of three all-new tracks to be included on a more extensive "hits" collection. Issued in 1992, the 17-track The Very Best...And Beyond was Foreigner's most commercially successful release in several years along with the band's first live release, Classic Hits Live, issued a year later.

The Gramm/Jones reunion soon turned permanent and new members Bruce Turgon (bass) and Jeff Jacobs (keyboards) were welcomed on board. The latest version of Foreigner issued an all-new studio recording in 1995, Mr. Moonlight, which failed to return the group to the top of the charts. Foreigner remained a popular concert attraction, but the band's future was thrust into doubt in 1997 when Gramm was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Luckily, the tumor was non-cancerous and was removed shortly thereafter. Gramm's recovery was slow and painful, but by 1999, the singer was well enough for Foreigner to team up with Journey for a summer tour. The early 21st century saw the release of several archival collections courtesy of the Rhino label: a pair of additional collections, Jukebox Heroes: The Foreigner Anthology and Complete Greatest Hits, as well as reissues of the group's self-titled debut and 4, both of which included extra bonus tracks. Can't Slow Down, a three-disc set that included a new studio album, a disc of remixed versions of the band's biggest hits, and a DVD documentary, arrived in 2009.
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