Foreigner was founded in New York City by musicians from two countries. Englishmen Mick Jones, Ian McDonald, and Dennis Elliott joined forces with Americans Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood, and Ed Gagliardi in 1976. Jones, the band’s lead guitarist, came up with their name. He reasoned that no matter where they were visiting, at least half of the band would be foreigners.
A year after forming, Foreigner released their self-titled debut. Their first three singles from the 1977 album were “Feels Like The First Time,” “Cold As Ice,” and “Long, Long Way From Home.” All of the songs were top-20 hits and remain radio staples to this day. Spurred by that initial success, Foreigner went on to populate the charts worldwide though the 1970s and ’80s.
Many rock fans, including yours truly, feel that Foreigner has been slighted. According to Blabbermouth, the band has had more Billboard top-10 hits than Journey, and just as many as Fleetwood Mac. However, Foreigner has never even been nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Something should be done about that.
UPDATE (2/10/24): Foreigner was finally nominated for the Class of 2024. Inductees will be announced in late April. You can see the full list of nominees HERE.
Mick Jones is the only original member still in the band. Fortunately, he has surrounded himself with other talented rock veterans such as Jeff Pilson (bass) and Kelly Hansen (lead vocals) so that Foreigner could continue to perform for their loyal legion of fans. They are currently on their farewell tour, which is scheduled to run through 2024 and includes a stop in Charlotte.
For this edition of the Throwback Threesome, we’re revisiting Foreigner’s first phase when Lou Gramm was the lead singer. Gramm fronted the band from 1977 to 1990 and again from 1992 to 2003. He also had a solo career, which spawned the 1987 hit “Midnight Blue,” and even put out an album of Christian rock in 2009.