Monday, November 29, 1982

A Foreigner Retrospective

First posted 9/20/2020; updated 10/21/2020.

Records

Foreigner


Released: November 29, 1982


Recorded: 1977-1982


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


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


Rating:

4.157 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)


Awards:

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

A Brief History:

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.

Here are the four studio albums covered by the Records compilation. Each has a link to a separate DMDB page, but snapshots of each album are offered on this page.

The Studio Albums:

Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies below 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):

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.

  • Feels Like the First Time (3/26/77, 4 US, 2 CL, 39 UK, 7 CN, 41 AU)
  • Cold As Ice (7/23/77, 6 US, 1 CL, 24 UK, 9 CN, 32 AU)
  • Long, Long Way from Home (12/10/77, 20 US, 7 CL, 22 CN, 70 AU)


Double Vision (1978):

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.

  • Hot Blooded (live version) (7/1/78: studio version, 3 US, 2 CL, 42 UK, 3 CN, 24 AU)
  • Double Vision (9/22/78, 2 US, 2 CL, 7 CN, 97 AU)


Head Games (1979):

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.

  • Head Games (11/10/79, 14 US, 6 CL, 14 CN)
  • Dirty White Boy (9/8/79, 12 US, 6 CL, 14 CN)


4 (1981):

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.

  • Urgent (7/4/81, 4 US, 1 AR, 45 UK, 1 CN, 24 AU)
  • Juke Box Hero (7/25/81, 26 US, 3 AR, 48 UK, 39 CN, 53 AU)
  • Waiting for a Girl Like You (10/10/81, 2 US, 1 AR, 5 AC, 8 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU, sales: ½ million)


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.

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