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.

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