I was a teenager in 1976 when the band Foreigner formed. I grew up in a very rural town by myself, a lot of the time, after my parents divorced and my older siblings moved away. Music was very important to me and was my truest of companions. I loved Bad Company, Aerosmith and other great rock bands of the time. When I heard Foreigner for the first time (no pun intended), I was blown away and have been ever since.
Foreigner was a half English, half American band with original members Mick Jones, Ian McDonald, Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliott, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi. The band has had many line ups over the years, but that was the line up at the start.
Their debut album, Foreigner, was released in 1977 and sold more than four million copies, while Double Vision, released in 1978, sold about five million. Their next two albums, Head Games and 4, and their more recent albums helped the band sell over 70 million records to date.
I have compiled a list of my favorite top ten Foreigner songs. This list is based on my humble opinion, but I do know that this music helped me through some difficult times and that means something to me.
10. I Want To Know What Love Is (written by Mick Jones with Lou Gramm, uncredited/Album: Agent Provocateur) is not so much a rocking song as much as it is just plain beautiful. I cannot hear that song, even today, and not tear up. It is considered a “Power Ballad.” When you have back up from the New Jersey Mass Choir, it has to be good. This song is one of the best love songs ever and stands the test of time as it is still popular today.
9. Waiting for a Girl Like You (written by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm/Album 4) is another non-rocking tune, but still very good all the same. Thomas Dolby even helped out with this song. It opened the door for Foreigner and allowed more people to hear their music because it got so much Top 40 airplay.
8. Head Games (written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones/Album of the same title) rocks with a heavy drum beat. The song tells the story of what it feels like to be with a person who plays head games. “Instead of making love, we play head games” is a line from the song and sets the tone. Sad story, soulful voice, but it rocks all the same.
7. Double Vision (written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones/Album of the same title) has a rocking guitar riff that you only have to hear a second of and you know what is coming. There is confusion about the meaning of the song, some say it is about drinking (I actually have had alcohol induced double vision and it isn’t fun) and some say it was about a fight at a hockey game. Either way, this is a great song.
6. Feels Like the First Time (written by Mick Jones/Album Foreigner) begins with the drums and goes from there. It is a wonderful rock love song. I can only imagine that many 70s teenagers probably lost their virginity to this song. Now that we are older, we can relate to the meaning of the song; being with someone so special that being together feels like that magical first time. This was Foreigner’s first single.
5. Cold As Ice (written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones/Album Foreigner) starts with chilling piano cords. Then the song tells a story about someone who is “cold as ice” and how they are “willing to sacrifice our love.” But “someday you’ll pay the price I know” followed by great guitar work. This song has great vocal harmonies that give it an ethereal feel.
4. Blue Monday, Blue Day (written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones/Album Double Vision) is full of Gramm’s soulful voice. It is another great song filled with the angst I was feeling as a teenager.
3. Urgent (written by Mick Jones/Album 4) is a hard driving song about passion. The words, the music, the sax (played by Junior Walker) all pretty much give this song urgency. You can feel exactly feel what Gramm is singing about. This is also a great road trip song! Industry heavy-hitter “Mutt” Lange produced this song.
2. Long, Long Way from Home (written by Mick Jones, Lou Gramm and Ian McDonald/Album Foreigner) one of the best hard driving rock songs, in my opinion. There is a lot of music and vocal action in this song. It doesn’t hurt that my favorite TV show of all time, Supernatural, used it in their 4th season (Episode 13).
Hot Blooded (written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones/Album Double Vision) is probably one of the band’s best known songs with the driving drums and guitar. Yet another song about the urgency of passion and, like the ones mentioned before, it rocks it hard! This song was also featured in Supernatural, in the first season, the “Wendigo” episode. Some say this is Foreigner’s signature song and is probably their most recognized.
This walk back in time was great fun for me; I hope you enjoyed my list. If it has been a while since you listened to Foreigner, it might be time to dust off those albums or cassettes and re-find this great band. You can also find some of the videos on YouTube. Their website is full of information about current tours, band line ups and music, so you might want to check that out also.
Thank you to Foreigner for helping me through my youth and rocking my older years too!