Foreigner became arena rock stars in the ‘70s and ‘80s by seamlessly combining British and American musical influences and constantly evolving their sound to keep up with the zeitgeist. Formed in 1976 in New York City, the group originally centred around the bluesy rock of Hampshire songwriter Mick Jones, a former member of Spooky Tooth and Johnny Hallyday's band. Just as Fleetwood Mac moved away from their harder Peter Green era, Foreigner soon added prog-leaning keyboard flourishes, the multi-instrumental prowess of King Crimson co-founder Ian McDonald, and a radio-friendly sheen courtesy of producers such as Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, The Cars). Their distinguishing factor, however, was singer Lou Gramm, who added eclectic, theatrical flair to the band's early hits. His swaggering urgency drove the come-hither classic "Hot Blooded", the ELO-esque "Cold As Ice" and the muscular "Juke Box Hero", a fist-pumping ode to rock 'n' roll's power.
Thanks to their unique blend of inspirations and instrumental mastery, Foreigner had an easier time adapting to rock's glossier ‘80s trends than many of their peers. Gramm turned in tender, soulful performances on the synth-glazed 1981 single "Waiting for a Girl Like You" and 1984's chart-topping power ballad "I Want to Know What Love Is", and unleashed a gentle croon on 1988's adult contemporary hit "I Don't Want to Live Without You". Although Jones remains the sole founding member in Foreigner, the band's fervent spirit lives on through newer additions such as vocalist Kelly Hansen, who puts his own fiery spin on Gramm's vocal delivery. As ever, they know what fans want to hear—and how to deliver it.
ORIGINNew York, NY