Foreigner History


Despite numerous lineup changes, Foreigner's unique brand of rock continues to delight audiences around the world.


Foreigner: The British are Coming

Foreigner was formed in New York City when British musician Mick Jones teamed up with ex-King Crimson founder Ian McDonald and four American musicians, singer Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood, and bassist Ed Gagliardi. Mick Jones came up with the sextet's name based on the fact that only he and McDonald were the only Brits in the group. The band released its first album Foreigner in 1977. It rose to the fourth spot on Billboard's Pop Albums chart and sold over four million copies. Foreigner spawned three hit singles "Feels like the First Time," "Cold as Ice" and "Long, Long Way from Home."


Foreigner: Seeing Double

In 1978, Foreigner released its second album, Double Vision. The album peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart and stayed in the Top 10 for six months. The album sold over five million records and produced three hit singles "Hot Blooded," "Double Vision" and "Blue Morning, Blue Day." By avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump, Foreigner was able to establish itself as an arena rock powerhouse alongside popular acts such as Boston, Heart, and Styx.


Foreigner: Making Changes

Gagliardi was replaced by ex-Peter Frampton bassist Rick Wills before its third album Head Games was released in 1979. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200, selling over five million copies and generating two hit singles, the title track and "Dirty White Boy." However, Jones was not finished making changes. Prior to recording the next album, Greenwood and McDonald were let go. In 1981, Foreigner released 4. The album reached No. 1 on Billboard and produced the hit singles "Urgent," "Waiting for a Girl like You" and "Juke Box Hero." 4 was seen by many as a departure from the group's hard rock sound toward more ballad-centered pop.


Foreigner: A New Direction

The group released its fifth album Agent Provocateur in 1984, which sold over three million copies. Foreigner successfully introduced itself to the MTV generation with its video for the gospel-rock hybrid "I Want to Know What Love Is." The single earned Foreigner its first No. 1 hit and the video became the most popular at MTV for the year. Agent Provocateur was followed by 1987's Inside Information. The album spawned the hits "Say You Will" and "I Don't Want to Live without You." Tensions between Gramm and Jones came to a head and the group temporarily disbanded in 1989.


Foreigner: Soldiering On

Jones reformed the band in 1990 with new singer, Johnny Edwards. Foreigner released its seventh album Unusual Heat in 1991. While Foreigner remained a popular touring act, the album was not nearly as successful as the band's previous efforts, even failing to break the Top 100 on Billboard. Because of this, Jones and Gramm reunited on 1994's Mr. Moonlight. The album fared just as well as Unusual Heat; however, it produced a minor hit with the ballad "Until the End of Time."


Foreigner: Beyond the Charts

Gramm was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumor in 1997. Recovery was slow but assured. In 1999, Gramm was able to join Foreigner on the road with tour mates Journey. However, Gramm left the band to pursue his solo career and was replaced by singer Kelly Hansen in 2005. Son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Jason Bonham, took over drum duties for the band's tour along with bassist Jeff Pilson. In 2007, Foreigner toured with Def Leppard and Styx for its 30th anniversary. The band also participated in a tribute concert for Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic records. Foreigner is currently on tour and will be joined by Bryan Adams on select dates.


Foreigner: Greatest Hits



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