Foreigner's lone remaining founding member, guitarist Mick Jones, has been at the helm of the legendary American rock group since 1976. But if you've seen the band lately, it seems like they're just getting started, with Jones putting together a turbo-charged version of the group, which has been fronted by Kelly Hansen since 2005. But even though 2009's Can't Slow Down proved that they still had the goods to make a damn fine Foreigner album, it's their chart-reigning period from 1977-84 with Lou Gramm as the lead singer, that make up the songs on our list of the Top 10 Foreigner Songs.
'Night Life'From: '4' (1981)
Our list of the Top 10 Foreigner Songs begins with this album track, which drew simple inspiration from the hookers that were hanging out outside New York's Electric Lady studios where the band was hard at work on '4.'' Hearing Lou Gramm singing about getting “caught up in the action” suggests that some members of the band just might have taken advantage of “those bad girls hanging around.”
'Blue Morning, Blue Day'From: 'Double Vision' (1978)
The tangled relationship depicted in "Blue Morning, Blue Day" is very clearly reaching its breaking point and Gramm delivers the final kiss-off to his apparently soon to be ex-lover, telling her "Well, honey don't telephone / 'Cause I won't be alone / I need someone to make me feel better.” Or to put it another way, here's a quarter, call someone who cares.
'Head Games'From: 'Head Games' (1979)
"Head Games" remains as one of the best lasting artifacts of the Jones/Gramm partnership, a song that can usually be found in the second slot of Foreigner's modern-day setlist. A soaring opening riff from Jones leads into urgent lyrical communication from Gramm, who struggles to figure out and face the true mental reality of his fractious relationship.
'Feels Like the First Time'From: 'Foreigner' (1977)
"Feels Like the First Time" is a pretty genius name for your first single, and it certainly paid plenty of dividends for Foreigner, striking the Top Five. For Jones, it simply signified a new beginning as he had gotten married, moved to America and started what would become a very successful rock 'n' roll band.
"Urgent," which is No. 6 on our list of the Top 10 Foreigner Songs, oozes with gobs of machismo on every level, from the way Jones' guitar struts at odds with the backbeat from Dennis Elliott to the muscular sax solo from Motown's Junior Walker. Due to the perfectionism of Jones and producer Mutt Lange, Walker's solo was pieced together from multiple takes.
'Cold as Ice'From: 'Foreigner' (1977)
Hearing the famous piano beginning of "Cold as Ice," it's hard now to believe that the song was initially released in some territories as the B-side to "Feels Like the First Time." It was much too good to languish in obscurity, however, and when it was finally issued as an A-side, it charted at No. 6, the second of three Top 20 singles from the band's self-titled debut.
'Waiting for a Girl Like You'From: '4' (1981)
Mick Jones calls "Waiting" the “song that wrote itself,” telling Classic Rock that he felt like the “conduit” for the track and that “something was coming down through me.” He says that the “serious emotional experience” made it hard for him to hear the song in playback without breaking down. Keyboardist Thomas "She Blinded Me With Science" Dolby played the famous synthesizer on "Waiting," which financed the beginning of his own solo career.
'Hot Blooded'From: 'Double Vision' (1978)
Gramm says that “It's up to you / We can make a secret rendezvous,” but the overall tone of "Hot Blooded" seems to make things pretty clear that there isn't really much choice in the matter. What's the polite way to ask “Come on baby, do you do more than dance?”
'I Want to Know What Love Is'From: 'Agent Provocateur' (1984)
Foreigner got downright spiritual with "I Want To Know What Love Is," which featured backing vocals from the New Jersey Mass Choir and one of Lou Gramm's finest vocal moments. Driven by his own romantic struggles, Jones wrote this emotional plea, which deeply moved many of those who were first to hear it -- including the legendary Ahmet Ertegun, who found himself brought to tears when Jones played it for him.
'Juke Box Hero'From: '4' (1981)
For anyone who has ever been on the wrong side of a sold-out concert, "Juke Box Hero" will touch a chord. The real-life version had a happier ending, as Foreigner invited a Cincinnati fan that they met outside of soundcheck -- and helped to inspire the eventual song that tops our list of the Top 10 Foreigner Songs -- inside to watch the show from the side of the stage.
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