With numerous multi-platinum albums and top ten hits, Foreigner is hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world, continuing to have sold out tours to this day. They are one of the world’s best selling bands of all time with worldwide album sales exceeding 80 million records.
The British-American band was originally formed in 1976 by veteran English musician Mick Jones and keyboardist Al Greenwood in NYC. After meeting with fellow Briton and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald, they discovered drummer Dennis Elliot. After about 50 auditions for a singer that didn’t work out, Jones found an old Black Sheep album given to him and made a call to their American vocalist Lou Gramm. Brooklyn bassist Ed Gagliardi completed the new sextet.
After being noticed by Atlantic Records, they realized the bands first name Trigger was already taken. So Jones came up with Foreigner as he, McDonald and Dennis Elliot were English, while Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi were American. So no matter where the band was, somebody would be a foreigner.
The bands debut Foreigner was released in March 1977 and sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S., staying in the Top 20 for a year with such hits as “Feels Like the First Time”, “Cold as Ice” and “Long, Long Way from Home”.
Through relentless touring and with the help of their even bigger selling 2nd release, Double Vision, the band started to headline bigger venues. The album sold five million records and gave us hits such as “Hot Blooded”, the title track “Double Vision” and “Blue Morning, Blue Day”. They were solidified as a band that wasn’t going away.
For ’79’s Head Games, Gagliardi was replaced on bass by Rick Wills. After the release co-founders Al Greenwood and Ian McDonald were kicked out as Jones wanted more control. The quartet released 4 in 1981 containing “Urgent” (which includes the famous Junior Walker sax solo), “Waiting for a Girl Like You”, “Juke Box Hero” and “Break it Up”.
After touring and a few lineup additions/drops, their next album, Agent Provocateur, was released in 1984 and gave them the hit, “I Want to Know What Love Is”, a gospel-inspired ballad backed by Jennifer Holliday and the New Jersey Mass Choir. The song was their biggest U.S. hit. Next came 87’s Inside Information including “Say You Will” and “I Don’t Want to Live Without You”. Gramm then left the group after releasing 2 successful solo albums in the late 80’s. Johnny Edwards took over vocal duties and with a few special guests released Unusual Heat in 1991. Gramm would return to the group after being holed up with Jones during the L.A. riots of ’92. They would release Mr. Moonlight in ’95 in the U. S. A split would occur again in 2003, so Jones would go on with an all new band being the only founding member left. Can’t Slow Down was released in 2009.
30 years into the game, the band have released 10 studio albums, 3 live albums and over 40 singles. Even with numerous lineup and vocalist changes, the band continues to perform to sold out crowds and to tour with their peers.
NE Ohio Concerts
- World Series of Rock w/ ELO, Foreigner, Journey and Trickster-Cleveland Stadium-July 15, 1978
- Foreigner, Rick Derringer-Richfield Coliseum-November 2, 1979
- Foreigner, Giuffria-Richfield Coliseum-August 27, 1985
- Foreigner, Bad Company, REO Speedwagon, Eddie Money, Survivor-Gund Arena-October 20, 2002
- Foreigner, Kansas, Styx-Blossom Music Center-June 26, 2010
- Foreigner, Journey, Night Ranger-Blossom Music Center-August 2, 2011
- Foreigner-House of Blues Cleveland-February 21, 2012
- Lorain County Fairgrounds-August 19, 2014
- Mick Jones-lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, bass, vocals
- Ian McDonald- rhythm guitar, keyboards, saxophone, flute, backing vocals
- Al Greenwood-keyboards, synthesizer
- Dennis Elliot-drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Ed Gagliardi-bass guitar, backing vocals, crowd starter
- Lou Gramm-lead vocals, percussion
- “Feels Like The First Time”
- “Cold As Ice”
- “Long, Long Way From Home”
- “Hot Blooded
- “Double Vision”
- “Blue Morning, Blue Day”
- “Waiting For A Girl Like You”
- “Juke Box Hero”
- “I Want To Know What Love Is”
- “I Don’t Want To Live Without You”
- “Say You Will”