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Atlantic 18215
Released: March 1977
Chart Peak: #4
Weeks Charted: 113
Certified 4x Platinum: 11/16/84

Ed GagliardiAl GreenwoodDennis ElliottIan McDonaldLou GrammMick JonesForeigner's influences are hardly alien -- two parts Bad Company and one part ELO spiced with just a pinch of Roxy Music. Endowed with an assured studio sound and strong writers (lead guitarist Mick Jones wrote or collaborated on all the material), Foreigner's debut album speaks with the kind of authority increasingly common in the Seventies hard-rock world of instant stars.

"Long, Long Way from Home" is Foreigner at its best, lead singer Lou Gramm pumping out the chunky rocker with the characteristic ease of Bad Company's Paul Rodgers but without that singer's occasional heavy-handedness. Synthesizer and a sax round out the rocker's edges, giving it the barest hint of Roxy sophistication. Thick harmonies serve the same function for the other uptempo standout, "At War with the World," though little could have saved the tired lyrical and musical ideas of the riffy "Headknocker."

Foreigner - Foreigner
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The melodic feel and production of the ballads and midtempo material reveal ELO sources -- "Woman Oh Woman" is a particularly fetching soundalike. The swirling vocals and stately guitar of "Starrider" reveal similar pop influences, but like most of Foreigner's tunes, the lyrics add little to the song's final impact. While more than half of these tunes are powerful performances, none of them invites much emotional involvement.

Foreigner clearly has the moves to step into the big time, but needs a bit more time to gel before the group can offer more than already proven formulas. Unfortunately, in these days of prepackaged phenomena, such development sometimes seems secondary to producing a slick and marketable recorded sound. So while Foreigner already looks like a strong contender, one hopes success doesn't rob them of the time and space they need to grow.

- John Milward, Rolling Stone, 6/2/77.

Bonus Reviews!

Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Album Review:
Double Vision

Album Review:
Head Games

Album Review: 4

Foreigner Lyrics

Foreigner Videos

Mick Jones Mugshots

Foreigner is an English supergroup made up principally of former members of King Crimson and other less "distinguished" defunct bands, and they have one problem they probably won't be able to surmount. In their macho, straight-ahead moments they sound like Bad Company, and in their arty, look-what-we-can-do moments they sound like King Crimson. You may find yourself a bit perplexed by this, as King Crimson specialized in twisted rip-offs of American jazz masters, notably Charlie Mingus, while Bad Company has been playing a metal formula to the hilt. Foreigner has simply mashed two hit formulas into one agonized mulch of sound that they spread out in all marketable directions. As their name implies, they are a group without a country or a personal style, and as such you want to feel sorry for them -- except that they are going to sell their particular brand of torture for a lot of money. Then we can expect them in less than half a decade to break up into two or three more "supergroups" and perhaps make even more money.

Foreigner is already gaining enough popularity to make them the next big arena-filler, so you might want to buy this record to be in on the next big sell. You have to wonder what exactly is lost in the collective sensibility that lets groups like this become popular, until you realize that they are a bit of something new that carried on from something old that copped a lick or two from something once rightfully known as the blues. Then it strikes you that we're all in the same boat, waiting for the blessing of truly believed-in music.

- Lester Bangs, Stereo Review, 9/77.

This half-English, half-American six-man group contains veterans from Spooky Tooth, the original King Crimson, and the Ian Hunter-Mick Ronson band. Founder Mick Jones plays lead guitar and writes the songs, while Lou Gramm is a real find on lead vocals. The band plays good mainstream hard rock with fine intricate vocals and proficient playing throughout. Best cuts: "Feels Like The First Time," "Starrider," "Fool For You Anyway," "I Need You."

- Billboard, 1977.

No-nonsense rock & roll catapulted the band's debut all the way to the top of the charts with the hits "Cold as Ice" and "Feels Like the First Time." * * *

- Donna DiChario, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

Essentially the brainchild of ex-Spooky Tooth guitarist Mick Jones, the Anglo/US Foreigner very nearly didn't get the record deal that enabled them to thrust themselves onto the world's airwaves with their eponymous debut alubm that spawned such AOR hits as "Feels Like The First Time" and "Cold As Ice" in the spring and summer of 1977; record companies they approached apparently didn't hear a hit in the band's demos.

The band went on to become one of the biggest rock acts of the late 1970s/early 1980s and their record label's second biggest-selling international act, after Led Zeppelin. In addition to the two hit singles, the album overall featured slick production values and even slicker guitar work of Mick Jones, together with the soaring voice of singer Lou Gramm. Melody, as well as pure rock and roll riffs, play a big part in the record, and it is this blend that ensured the album's -- and subseuently the band's -- success. "Feels Like The First Time" and "Cold As Ice" went to Number Four and Six in the US singles' chart respectively, while the album also went to Number Four on the US album chart, spending 113 weeks in the charts altogether, while in the then-punk dominated UK it managed a more sedate Number 24 on its release in the summer of 1978.

As of 2004, Foreigner was the #42 best-selling album of the 70s.

- Hamish Champ, The 100 Best-Selling Albums of the 70s, 2004.

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