author's foto

FOREIGNER's Debut Album Released 40 Years Ago...

March 24, 2017

In what is considered to be one of the stronger debut albums from a rock band, The 1st album from FOREIGNER arrived 40 years ago on March 8, 1977. Called "Foreigner" because of the mix of American & English musicians, they abandoned the original band name of "Trigger." The powerful combo of the album's first 2 songs, "Feels Like The First Time," & "Cold As Ice" helped set the stage for the hit-making potential of the band. The rest of the debut album wasn't as consistent as those first 2 songs, and that's understandable considering the varied background of the members of the new group...but it was the sound and feel of those first 2 songs that more or less became the blueprint and signature sound of one of the most successful bands to emerge from the late-1970's. Those first 2 songs went on to become Top 10 hits for FOREIGNER, and they remain fan faves to this day. A third single from the album, "Long, Long Way From Home," also charted, making it to #20. The origin of FOREIGNER reads as kind of a "Cinderella Story," especially for Rochester's own LOU GRAMM, who was plucked from relatively obscurity over a LOT of other lead vocalists under consideration. HOW did band-founder, MICK JONES, find Lou? He took note of the singer's powerful talent when he listened to a BLACK SHEEP album that was in his collection. (Jones & Lou Gramm had met previously when BLACK SHEEP was the opener for Jones' previous band, SPOOKY TOOTH.) He proceeded to get in touch with Gramm, who had just disbanded Black Sheep, and Lou accepted an invitation to travel to New York to audition for the job. We all know how that turned out... ;D  The hiring of LOU GRAMM resulted not only in Mick Jones finding the absolute 'right' singer for his new band, but it also began a creative partnership that would endure through the next 2 decades, with a number of great albums and hit singles to show for it. And while Mick Jones had already penned a few songs for the debut album, the addition of Lou to the band also brought another songwriter & lyricist into the fold, as Lou shares co-writing credits on 6 of the debut album's songs! Additionally, FOREIGNER was lucky in that there didn't seem to be a need for any kind of "break-in" period, as the band members seems to 'gel' almost immediately...in his memoir, "Jukebox Hero," LOU GRAMM recalls that, “We all clicked immediately,” Gramm recalled in his Juke Box Hero memoir. “I thought when we started rehearsing that there would be a get-to-know-you period where we would be feeling one another out, but it wasn't’t like that at all. The chemistry among us was instant.”