Monday, November 29, 1982

Foreigner: A Retrospective, 1976-1992


A Retrospective: 1976-1992


English musician Mick Jones, formerly of Spooky Tooth, formed Foreigner in 1976 with Ian McDonald (formerly of King Crimson) and American singer Lou Gramm. He suggested the name “Foreigner” after the group had blossomed into a six-piece with three Brits and three Americans. In the short five years covered on this page, they lost three founding members and by 1981 were working as a four-piece unit.

From 1977 to 1981 the band released four studio albums, all of which hit the top 5 on the Billboard album charts and sold at least five million each. Their most successful album was 4, which spent 10 weeks on top. They hit the top 40 eleven times in that same span with their biggest hit being “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” a #2 hit for 10 weeks.

The Players:

  • Lou Gramm (vocals, percussion): 1977-82
  • Mick Jones (guitar, keyboards, vocals): 1977-82
  • Ian McDonald (guitar, backing vocals, saxophone, keyboards): 1977-79
  • Al Greenwood (keyboards): 1977-79
  • Ed Gagliardi (bass): 1977-78
  • Dennis Elliott (drums): 1977-82
  • Rick Wills (bass): 1979-82

On the Web:


The Studio Albums:

Hover over an album cover to see its title and year of release. Click on the album to go to its dedicated DMDB page.


Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies are noted. If the song charted, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.

Foreigner (1977):

  • Feels Like the First Time (3/26/77, 4 US, 2 CL, 39 UK, 7 CN, 41 AU, 6 DF) R, VB
  • Cold As Ice (7/23/77, 6 US, 1 CL, 24 UK, 9 CN, 32 AU, 3 DF) R, VB
  • Long, Long Way from Home (12/10/77, 20 US, 7 CL, 22 CN, 70 AU, 9 DF) R
The debut album from Foreigner was an immediate success, spawning three top-10 hits and a third top-20 hit. The album sold more than five million copies and hit the top 5 on the Billboard album chart.

Double Vision (1978):

  • Hot Blooded (7/1/78, 3 US, 2 CL, 42 UK, 3 CN, 24 AU, 1 DF) R, VB
  • Double Vision (9/22/78, 2 US, 2 CL, 7 CN, 97 AU, 3 DF) R, VB
With two top-five hits, Foreigner wasn’t suffering from a sophomore slump. Not only did the album chart a notch higher (#3) than its predecessor, but it outsold it with more than ten million copies worldwide. A third song, “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” was a top-20 hit, but isn’t included on the Records compilation.

Head Games (1979):

  • Head Games (11/10/79, 14 US, 6 CL, 14 CN, 8 DF) R, VB
  • Dirty White Boy (9/8/79, 12 US, 6 CL, 14 CN, 9 DF) R, VB
  • Rev on the Red Line (44 CL, 14 DF) VB
While Head Games still put two songs in the top 20 on the U.S. pop chart, it wasn’t quite the same lofty heights as the Double Vision album. Still, the album was a top-five hit with sales over five million.

Foreigner 4 (1981):

  • Urgent (7/4/81, 4 US, 1 AR, 45 UK, 1 CN, 24 AU, 4 DF) R, VB
  • Juke Box Hero (7/25/81, 26 US, 3 AR, 48 UK, 39 CN, 53 AU, 1 DF) R, VB
  • Waiting for a Girl Like You (10/10/81, 2 US, 1 AR, 5 AC, 8 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU, 1 DF) R, VB
This was Foreigner’s most successful outing. The album spent a whopping ten weeks atop the Billboard album chart and gave them their biggest hit to date with the power ballad “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” which spent ten weeks in the runner-up spot on the Billboard Hot 100.



Released: November 29, 1982

Recorded: 1977-1982

Peak: 10 US, 58 UK, -- CN, 26 AU, 11 DF

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.06 UK, 11.4 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (1) Cold As Ice (2) Double Vision (3) Head Games (4) Waiting for a Girl Like You (5) Feels Like the First Time (6) Urgent (7) Dirty White Boy (8) Juke Box Hero (9) Long, Long Way from Home (10) Hot Blooded (live)

Total Running Time: 39:23


4.392 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About Records:

After four top-10 albums and 11 top-40 singles in five years, Foreigner took a break, offering fans their first compilation. It was a multi-platinum, top-10 hit just like its predecessors despite offering nothing new, save a live version of “Hot Blooded.” In fact, this wasn’t just a multi-platinum seller; it was Foreigner’s third album (after Double Vision and 4) to top ten million in sales worldwide.

As packed as this is with hits, it still misses a few, most notably the #15 hit “Blue Morning, Blue Day” and the #41 hit “Women.” They could have easily been added, considering the album’s sub-40-minute running length. Still, there’s no arguing with what is here. There would be many compilations to follow over the years, but this was the first and most successful.

Agent Provocateur (1984):

  • I Want to Know What Love Is (11/13/84, 12 US, 11 CB, 12 RR, 3 AC, 85 RB, 11 AR, 13 UK, 13 CN, 15 AU, 1 DF) VB
  • That Was Yesterday (1/19/85, 12 US, 10 CB, 10 RR, 24 AC, 4 AR, 28 UK, 24 CN, 55 AU, 1 DF) VB
Foreigner’s fifth album couldn’t possibly live up the success of their #1, multi-platinum fourth effort, but Agent Provocateur was still a top 5, platinum seller. It also gave the group their only #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Inside Information (1987):

  • Say You Will (12/5/87, 6 US, 8 CB, 7 RR, 41 AC, 14 AR, 71 UK, 13 CN, 6 AU, 9 DF) VB
  • I Don’t Want to Live Without You (5 US, 8 CB, 4 RR, 11 AC, 18 AR, 18 CN, 21 AU, 9 DF) VB
This was Foreigner’s first album to miss the Billboard top 10, but it was still a million seller with two top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Very Best…and Beyond


Released: September 22, 1992

Recorded: 1977-1992

Peak: 123 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.06 UK, 4.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (1) Soul Doctor (2) Prisoner of Love (3) With Heaven on Our Side (4) Juke Box Hero (5) Hot Blooded (6) Cold As Ice (7) Head Games (8) Waiting for a Girl Like You (9) Urgent (10) Double Vision (11) I Want to Know What Love Is (12) Say You Will (13) That Was Yesterday (14) I Don’t Want to Live Without You (15) Rev on the Red Line (16) Dirty White Boy (17) Feels Like the First Time

Total Running Time: 73:10


3.774 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)

About The Very Best…and Beyond:

This collection essentially served as a super-sized version of 1982’s Records with the studio recording of “Hot Blooded” instead of a live version. “Long, Long Way from Home” is absent and “Blue Morning, Blue Day” still hasn’t made the cut on a compilation, but this set is superior to Records because of the inclusion of post-1982 hits “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “That Was Yesterday,” “Say You Will,” and “I Don’t Want to Live Without You.”

This set skips over Foreigner’s 1991 Unusual Heat, which was made without Lou Gramm, and adds three fairly forgettable new songs.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Soul Doctor (9/26/92, 5 AR, 48 CN, 31 DF) VB
  • With Heaven on Our Side (12/5/92, 85 CN, 31 DF) VB
  • Prisoner of Love VB

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 9/20/2020; last updated 7/9/2022.

Friday, November 19, 1982

50 years ago: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” charted

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Bing Crosby with Lennie Hayton’s Orchestra

Writer(s): E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, J. Gorney (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 19, 1932

Peak: 12 US, 8 GA, 9 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

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

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Rudy Vallee

First Charted: November 26, 1932

Peak: 12 US, 8 GA, 6 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.2 video, -- streaming

Awards (Bing Crosby):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Rudy Vallee):

About the Song:

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” is “probably the song most associated with the Great Depression.” JA When it was released, thirteen million Americans – a quarter of the working population – were out of work, a ripple effect created by the 1929 stock market crash. LW Mainstream pop songs largely steered clear of the uncomfortable subject area, but when E.Y. “Yip” Harburg was penning tunes for Broadway revue New Americana, the topic was unavoidable. SS

The “deeply political” SS Harburg, who also wrote the classic Wizard of Oz tune “Over the Rainbow,” crafted lyrics which were simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and illustrative of his social consciousness. TY Along with Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, and Lorenz Hart, he was a gifted lyricist born around the turn of the century who was inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan’s light operettas. LW Unlike most of his contemporaries, though, Harburg wrote songs which spoke to the underprivledged who hadn’t benefited from the American dream. LW

Harburg knew he wanted to write about the bread lines he’d seen throughout New York City. SS Composer Jay Gorney said that he and Harburg were walking in Central Park and were approached by a well-dressed man who said, “Buddy, can you spare a dime?” SS The idea for the song was born. Harburg tapped President Roosevelt’s campaign imagery of the Forgotten Man as the focal point for the song. SS

Rex Weber performed the song in the revue while standing in a bread line. TY The show opened on October 5, 1932, and three weeks later, Bing Crosby recorded it. SS-39 A week after his version charted, Vallee followed suit. Both songs topped the charts for two weeks, with Rudy’s version unseating Bing’s. Rudy’s is the higher-ranked version according to Dave’s Music Database.


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Rudy Vallee
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Bing Crosby
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for E.Y. “Yip” Harburg
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 28.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 66.
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 37-8.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 63.

Related Links:

First posted 11/19/2016; last updated 11/22/2022.

Saturday, November 13, 1982

Men at Work’s Business As Usual hit #1 for 1st of 15 weeks

Business As Usual

Men at Work

Released: November 9, 1981

Peak: 115 US, 15 UK, 110 CN, 19 AU

Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.3 UK, 15.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop rock/new wave


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Who Can It Be Now? (6/6/81, 1 US, 46 AR, 45 UK, 2 AU, 8 CN)
  2. I Can See It in Your Eyes
  3. Down Under (10/23/81, 1 US, 1 AR, 13 AC, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, sales: 1.6 million, airplay: 2 million)
  4. Underground (3/5/83, 20 AR)
  5. Helpless Automation
  6. People Just Love to Play with Words
  7. Be Good Johnny (4/82, 3 AR, 78 UK, 19 CN, 8 AU)
  8. Touching the Untouchables
  9. Catch a Star
  10. Down by the Sea

Total Running Time: 38:11

The Players:

  • Colin Hay (vocals, guitar)
  • Greg Ham (flute, keyboards, saxophone, vocals)
  • Ron Strykert (guitar, vocals)
  • John Rees (bass, backing vocals)
  • Jerry Speiser (drums, backing vocals)


3.994 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Business as Usual was the debut album for the Australian new wave band Men at Work. It was released in their home country in November 1981 and saw U.S. release five months later in April 1982. They became “the most unlikely success story of 1982,” AZ spending 15 weeks atop the Billboard album chart and winning the Grammy for Best New Artist.

Their success came primarily on the basis of “two excellent singles that merged straight-ahead pop/rock hooks with a quirky new wave production and an offbeat sense of humor. Colin Hay’s keening vocals uncannily recall Sting, and the band’s rhythmic pulse and phased guitars also bring to mind a bar band version of the Police.” AMG “Like Sting, Colin Hay’s vocal inflections were more suited to reggae than to white guitar-pop; the band, meanwhile, seemed to aim for much the same kind of earnest, slightly arch tone as early XTC.” AZ

The lead single, Who Can It Be Now?, was released in Australia in June 1981, where it became a #1 hit. More than a year later, it made its U.S. chart debut, eventually soaring to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

While that song played up paranoia in its video, the follow-up hit, Down Under, showcased Men at Work’s goofier side. The almost-novelty song celebrated their native country with a campy and popular video. The song was an even bigger hit on the U.S. charts. “For a time, Australians abroad seemed destined to have ‘Down Under’ sung at them – often by whole groups of strangers – as if it were a sunny gesture of greeting or camaraderie, instead of what it actually was: a tacit reinforcement of cultural stereotypes.” AZ “For the record: to ‘chunder’ means to vomit. And a Vegemite sandwich is nothing you’d want to eat.” AZ

The song met with more controversy in 2010 when it was determined it had been plagiarized from a 1934 Australian song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree,” written by Marion Sinclair. The band were ordered to pay a portion of royalties to the company holding the copyright on “Kookaburra.”

“There’s a fair amount of filler on the record, but Be Good Johnny, I Can See It in Your Eyes, and Down by the Sea are all fine new wave pop songs, making Business as Usual one of the more enjoyable mainstream-oriented efforts of the era.” AMG

Notes: A 2003 rerelease adds non-LP B-side, “Crazy,” the non-U.S. single track, “F-19,” and live versions of “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Underground.”

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 4/19/2012; updated 8/2/2021.