Saturday, January 30, 1982

Foreigner spends 10th week at #2 with “Waiting for a Girl Like You”

Waiting for a Girl Like You


Writer(s): Lou Gramm, Mick Jones (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 2, 1981

Peak: 2 US, 2 CB, 15 GR, 2 HR, 16 RR, 5 AC, 11 AR, 8 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 53.4 video, 173.74 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Foreigner’s “Waiting for a Girl Like You” had the misfortune of getting stuck in the runner-up slot behind one of the biggest hits of the 1980s, Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical.” True to its title, however, the power ballad patiently waited – for nine weeks. However, when “Physical” finally succumbed on January 30, 1982, the unthinkable happened. Hall & Oates’ “I Cant Go for That (No Can Do)” leapfrogged over “Girl” and Foreigner was still stuck at #2.

The song never ascended to the pole position of the Billboard Hot 100, but set a record for spending 10 weeks just outside the top. The record still stands today, although in 2002-03, Missy Elliott’s “Work It” tied Foreigner by spending 10 weeks behind Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

“Waiting for a Girl Like You” was part of a trend in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Bands like Foreigner, Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Styx made their names on album rock radio during the ‘70s, but each found themselves with the biggest hits of their careers with hits from 1979 to 1982. REO Speedwagon and Styx reached the top with “Keep on Loving You” and “Babe” respectively, while Foreigner’s “Waiting” and Journey’s “Open Arms” peaked at #2. In 1985, REO returned to the top with “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and Foreigner finally reached the top with “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Lou Gramm said that while the band were recording the song, a mysterious woman showed up in the control room. She inspired him to sing “Girl” better than he ever had, but then disappeared and he never found out who she was. WK Of course, Gramm had already found the girl he was waiting for anyway – his wife. SF Guitarist Mick Jones shared how the song brought a lot of people together and was played at a lot of people’s wedding. SF

Interestingly, the opening synthesizer bit was played by Thomas Dolby, who had a #5 hit in 1983 with “She Blinded Me with Science.” SF


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First posted 10/21/2020; last updated 12/22/2022.

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