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Lou Gramm

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Lou Gramm - Ready Or Not [Atlantic Records 81728-1] (1987)

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Lou Gramm


Ready Or Not

Released: 1987
Label: Atlantic Records
Catalog: 81728-1
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock
Note: Club Edition- RCA Music Service R 163847

T R A C K L I S T:
01 Ready Or Not
02 Heartache
03 Midnight Blue
04 Time
05 If I Don't Have You
06 She's Got To Know
07 Arrow Thru Your Heart
08 Until I Make You Mine
09 Chain Of Love
10 Lover Come Back
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Album Review

Bret Adams []

Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm's 1987 solo album Ready or Not is a winner. It came at a precarious time for Foreigner, despite coming off the success of 1985's Agent Provocateur and the band's first number one single, ''I Want to Know What Love Is.'' Ready or Not is rich with melody and snap, but its sound does vary just enough from Foreigner that Gramm can't really be accused of stealing from himself. The production by Gramm and Pat Moran definitely has that bright 1980s style. Gramm's main sidemen include guitarist Nils Lofgren, keyboardist Philip Ashley, bassist/guitarist/keyboardist Bruce Turgon, and drummer Ben Gramm. Side one absolutely sizzles. ''Ready or Not'' is a strong, hard-rocking leadoff track and it was a minor hit single. The melodic, lyrical, and vocal hooks on ''Heartache'' are massive and Lofgren's guitar solo adds an edgy bite. The Top Five hit ''Midnight Blue'' is a terrific pop/rock song; despite its hit status, it's one of the decade's truly underappreciated singles. Lofgren's rolling, effective guitar riffing and a captivating chorus make ''Time'' one of the best cuts. Foreigner helped create and master the rock power ballad, and Gramm utilizes that gift on the dark, ethereal ''If I Don't Have You.'' Side two is generally a letdown considering the high quality of the first half. Fortunately, there are two exceptions, ''Arrow Thru Your Heart'' and ''Until I Make You Mine.'' The commercial and artistic success of Ready or Not was a turning point for Gramm. Foreigner issued the lackluster Inside Information late in 1987, and Gramm followed that troubled project with a second moderately successful solo album, Long Hard Look, in 1989 and then left the band for a few years before returning.

Lou Gramm's Biography

Jason Ankeny []

After rising to prominence as the frontman for the hard rock combo Foreigner, Lou Gramm mounted a successful solo career during the '80s, cracking the Top 10 in 1987 with the single ''Midnight Blue'' and repeating the process two years later with ''Just Between You and Me.'' Born in Rochester, NY, on May 2, 1950, Gramm first surfaced as the drummer with the band Black Sheep, assuming lead vocal duties prior to recording the group's self-titled 1975 Capitol debut. Neither the album nor its follow-up, Encouraging Words, earned much mainstream notice, but they did capture the attention of journeyman guitarist Mick Jones, best known for his stint with a latter-day incarnation of Spooky Tooth. Jones soon tapped Gramm to front his new group, Foreigner, and together they began writing songs, co-authoring the smash ''Cold as Ice'' from their best-selling 1977 eponymous debut LP. Gramm's powerfully distinctive vocals were inescapable in the years to follow as Foreigner reeled off an impressive series of pop radio hits, including ''Hot Blooded,'' ''Double Vision,'' ''Urgent,'' and ''Waiting for a Girl Like You.'' The hits culminated in 1984's chart-topping power ballad ''I Want to Know What Love Is,'' which became a number one hit in America, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, and the U.K.

While Foreigner took a brief hiatus, Gramm made his solo debut in 1987 with Ready or Not and scored a major hit with ''Midnight Blue.'' Foreigner reconvened and recorded another platinum-selling album, Inside Information, but Gramm maintained his solo success with 1989's Long Hard Look and soon left group to form his own band, Shadow King, which released its self-titled debut on Virgin Records in 1991. Shadow King proved to be short-lived, however, and in 1994 Gramm and Jones revived Foreigner for the release of Mr. Moonlight.

As the decade drew to an end, Gramm was sidelined with several health issues. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor on the eve of the band's planned Japanese tour in 1997, and the surgery that followed damaged his pituitary gland. After a year of rehabilitation and radiation treatment, the singer made a full recovery and resumed touring in 1999. He split with Foreigner once again in 2003, however, preferring to tour in support of his solo material instead.
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