Archive for Foreigner

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Foreigner- Agent Provocateur

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2018 by 80smetalman

While in 1985, most of the world was excited about Foreigner releasing their first studio in nearly four years, I was a little skeptical. My skepticism was based on the logic that my final memories from Foreigner “4” was their famous ballad, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and when my introduction to the new “Agent Provocateur” album was another ballad, I concluded that Foreigner had gone the way of REO Speedwagon and was simply content to achieve commercial success through ballads. No matter how good everyone thought “I Want to Know What Love Is” and it is a good song, I had prematurely drawn the conclusion that the new album would be mainly ballads and that Foreigner had foregone their hard rock roots which had brought them so much success in the past.

Fortunately, my sister did buy the album and gave me a listen to it and my skepticism was removed. Let me be frank, in my mind, “Agent Provocateur” comes nowhere close to classics like my personal favourite, “Double Vision,” but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad album. True, there are more ballads on here than I would have liked, the previously mentioned single and “That Was Yesterday,” another song which brought Foreigner top 40 success. Plus, “Growing Up the Hard Way,” while not a ballad is over done with the synthesizer and I can’t help thinking how much better that song would have been if there was a stronger power chord from a guitar on it. However, there is evidence a plenty on “Agent Provocateur” to show that the band hadn’t totally forgotten where they came from.

Opening track, “Tooth and Nail” dispels any ideas that “Agent Provocateur” is going to be an album of ballads. It does its job of hooking the listener and is a good steady rock track. Even though the next three tracks after are the ballads and synth pop singles, one doesn’t lose interest as that opening tracks gives hope that there is more like that on the album. “Reaction to Action” does exactly that and it has the best guitar solo on the album. Therefore, it’s awarded the hidden gem for the album. I have a theory about the track “Stranger in My Own House.” I theorize that Lou Gramm and Mick Jones worried that people like me would think this album would be chuck full of ballads, so they recorded this song with that in mind. “Stranger in My Own House” is a good hard rocking track, probably the hardest on the album with another cool guitar solo. But I think they try too hard to be hard rock with Gramm doing more screaming than singing. While it’s a cool track, I want to say to Lou, “Relax man, you don’t have to prove you can still rock.”

“A Love in Vain” may return to the ballads but there is some good keyboards work on the track and a little guitar making a good 70s style progressive rock sounding song. Maybe that one should have been released as a single as it’s better than it successor, “Down on Love” which was. This one, while not bad, has too much of an 80s synth pop sound for me. “Two Different Worlds” is a definite ballad and it sort of combines the previous two tracks without the synth pop which is replaced with a decent guitar solo. That leaves the closer, “She’s Too Tough,” and though it brings the album full circle, the song reminds me too much of the Kenny Loggins single, “Danger Zone.”

Track Listing:

  1. Tooth and Nail
  2. That Was Yesterday
  3. I Want to Know What Love Is
  4. Growing Up the Hard Way
  5. Reaction to Action
  6. Stranger in My Own House
  7. A Love in Vain
  8. Down on Love
  9. Two Different Worlds
  10. She’s Too Tough

Foreigner

Lou Gramm- lead vocals, percussion

Mick Jones- guitar, synthesizer, keyboards, backing vocals

Rick Wills- bass, backing vocals

Dennis Elliot- drums

Like with Heart, the question here is, “Was Agent Provocateur” a sell out album for Foreigner?” Okay, they did have a number one single on it and while I might not think so, many other people out there did and it’s probably why it didn’t sell as big as some of their previous. My belief on the lack of sales was that Foreigner were trying to be all thing to all people and in a 1980s society which like to put things into nice neat categories, that didn’t sit well.

Next post: Marillion- Misplaced Childhood

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Great(ish) Soundtracks of 1984: Footloose

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

 

There was a very strange trend in regards to movie soundtracks in the mid 1980s. It seems that in order to appeal to all forms of music lovers, there would be songs representing nearly every genre. There would be some trendy pop songs, some rock, some soul oriented songs and even a heavy metal jam or two. This is exactly the case with the soundtrack for the film, “Footloose” which came out in the very beginning for this year.

Let’s start with the trendy. Kenny Loggins was already known for hit songs from soundtracks. He achieved it with the 1980 film, “Caddyshack.” So, it was no surprise that he sings the title track to the film. It has always been one of those songs I’ve neither loved or hated. The “Footloose” soundtrack also gave one hit wonder Deneice Williams her one hit with “Let’s Hear it For the Boy.” That song seemed to be on every AM radio station during the summer of 1984. I’ve heard worse but I’ve certainly heard far better. On the other hand, the soundtrack was unable to give 1982 one hit wonder Karla Banoff her second hit. It’s a song that’s just there. Then comes the usual practice of using former hits like Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” Finally, there’s the let’s take two singers from established bands and have them do a duet for the soundtrack. Cue, Mike Reno of Loverboy and Ann Wilson from Heart with “Almost Paradise.” It was supposed to be a power ballad that draws rock lovers and top forty fans together but no, it doesn’t. Both singers do a good job on the song and it’s better than most of the other tracks but not good enough to get into my top power ballad list.

Let’s side track for a moment. I have an experience with “Almost Paradise.” Mrs 80smetalman and I chose it for our wedding at our local registry office. Three weeks before our wedding, we get a letter from the registrar stating that we can’t use the song because it has religious connotations, which is not allowed at a civil wedding in the UK. I wonder if they would have said the same if I asked for a Deicide song.

Back to the point, “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar was a definite attempt by the movie makers to appeal to music lovers of African origin. It’s like, let’s put in a song by a black band and black people will buy the soundtrack. That’s my take on it. Now, for true rock lovers like me and you, there’s the classic John Cougar song, “Hurt So Good” and another attempt to bridge the rock/top 40 gap, let’s bring back the Foreigner classic ballad, “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Now to the metal, we got the great “Metal Health” by the then up and coming Quiet Riot but for me the best song on this soundtrack has to be Sammy Hagar’s “The Girl Gets Around.” Maybe someone heard the “Heavy Metal” soundtrack and said, “Hey, let’s use a Sammy Hagar song.” At least they chose a good one.

A note about the film: “Footloose” is about a teenage boy, played by Kevin Bacon, who moves into a small town, which is run by people who are anti-music. The local reverend is the spearhead of the anti-rock campaign. Of course, Kevin and the music win the day and music is allowed in the town but maybe Hollywood was onto something here. The religious right’s war on music was just in the early stages in 1984 and maybe this film could be a prophecy of things that could come about. It’s something to think about. Oh yes, the track by unknown band Moving Pictures called “Never” isn’t bad but it never (pun intended) made me want to explore their discography.

Track Listing:

  1. Footloose- Kenny Loggins
  2. Let’s Hear it For the Boy- Deneice Williams
  3. Almost Paradise- Mike Reno and Ann Williams
  4. Holding Out For a Hero- Bonnie Tyler
  5. Dancing in the Sheets- Shalamar
  6. I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)- Kenny Loggins
  7. Somebody’s Eyes- Karla Bonoff
  8. The Girl Gets Around- Sammy Hagar
  9. Never- Moving Pictures
  10. Metal Health (Bang Your Head)- Quiet Riot
  11. Hurt So Good- John Cougar
  12. Waiting for a Girl Like You- Foreigner
  13. Dancing in the Sheets (12 inch mix)- Shalamar

Quiet Riot

Bonnie Tyler

John Cougar Mellencamp

Foreigner

Sammy Hagar

“Footloose” wouldn’t be the only film whose soundtrack got the ‘corporate’ treatment. While there’s something for everyone, at least it’s thought so, there’s not enough songs here for me to ever go out and buy the album. Besides, I already have the tracks I do like from here on other albums.

Next post: Streets of Fire

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The Israeli Top Ten- April 1982

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2015 by 80smetalman

isreli flag

Because I hadn’t been able to listen to any albums from 1982 over the past few days I decided to take a trip back in personal nostalgia. In a few of my posts, I mentioned that I was in Israel in April of 1982. While getting rather sloshed in a bar in Tel A Viv, my friends and I were entertained by a television showing music videos. At first, we rocked to what I would later discover to be the video to all of Queen’s greatest hits up until 1980 and that was totally cool. Next, however, they showed the videos for the top ten songs in Israel that week or so I have always thought. So, to the best of my knowledge, here it is:

10. An Israeli duet featuring a man who looked like a grown up version of a friend of mine from junior high school and a woman. Don’t have a clue what the song was, they sang in Hebrew but the lady was quite pretty and the man had a powerful voice.

9. A Soul band whose name or song I can’t remember

8. The Human League- Don’t You Want Me

7. A rather hot looking French lady- Upside Down (I assume that was the title)

6. A dark haired woman who had a great voice. She was either Israeli or Italian

The J Geils Band

The J Geils Band

5. J. Geils Band- Centerfold

Foreigner

Foreigner

4. Foreigner- Waiting For a Girl Like You

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart

3. Rod Stewart- Young Turks

2. An English band featuring a short guy as lead singer- Can’t remember the song

1. Abba- Head Over Heels

I think the reason I remember this top ten so well is that fact that there were a couple of decent rock tunes in the chart. I have also noted that there are a good number of heavy metal bands from the country. My point here is that I think they can rock in Israel! Thank you for coming along on my trip down memory lane.

Next post: Charlie Daniels Band- Windows

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Foreigner- Head Games

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2013 by 80smetalman

Foreigner-head-games80

Call it karma, coincidence or whatever but it turns out the my 200th post here on 80smetalman’s blog is the first album I visit in the golden decade. I chose “Head Games” by Foreigner because it was the first new album I listened to in that year. An old marine buddy had it on 8-track and it was one of our many cruising albums. I also remember every time I went into the Enlisted Men’s Club in the January, “Dirty White Boy” or some other song from this album would be playing.    I thought now as I did then, it was a great way to begin the year or the decade for that matter.

Following one good album is tough enough for a band, but following two is a colossal challenge. Foreigner had to follow up their debut album and their fantastic second album “Double Vision,” both great albums. “Head Games for me, does a great job in doing so. I love the hard rock, early metal sound of “Dirty White Boy” and “Women is also a classic rocker for me as well and of course the title cut. In the months that followed, the title cut became sort of my anthem song for the time as I concluded that the Marine Corps was good a playing those types of games.

Unlike some of their future albums, there is nothing really to what I would call a ballad. The closest is the track “Blinded by Science,” but even that isn’t really what I would call a proper ballad. Instead, you get the hard rocking sound that defined Foreigner in those early days. Not only with the classic songs but the rest of the album provides a feel good factor when you’re rocking away to it.

Track Listing:

1. Dirty White Boy

2. Love On the Telephone

3. Women

4. I’ll Get Even With You

5. Seventeen

6. Head Games

7. The Modern Day

8. Blinded by Science

9. Do What You Like

10. Rev on the Red Line

Foreigner

Foreigner

Dennis Elliot- drums, vocals

Lou Gramm- vocals, percussion

Al Greenwood- synthesizer, keyboards

Mick Jones- guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals

Ian McDonald- guitar, keyboards, drums, vocals

Rick Willis- bass, vocals

Foreigner have been described as an Anglo-American rock band because members come from both countries. History shows us what Anglo-American cooperation can do in wartime but in music, they can produce things even greater. Foreigner and the album “Head Games” is proof of that.

Next post: Styx- Cornerstone

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Foreigner- Double Vision

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by 80smetalman

I have finally figured out why my AM clock radio finally gave up the ghost in early 1979. It couldn’t handle the hard rock coming out of it in the summer of 1978. First, there was the song “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh and on the same night, it belted out “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner. It is obvious now that two such hard rocking tunes were too much for a device that was used to blasting out disco tunes; it probably blew a tube from it all. For me, the summer of 1978, was a good rocking summer and this album was one of the reasons why.

The album “Double Vision,” the second album by Foreigner, has been considered by many, me included, as one of their best albums all around. It has a good rocking edge that has you rocking away from the very first song. (It does help that “Hot Blooded” is the first song.) However, the others all follow suit, especially the title track, and make this album the classic that it is.

Track Listing:

1. Hot Blooded

2. Blue Morning

3. You’re All I Am

4. Back Where You Belong

5. Love Has Taken Its Toll

6. Double Vision

7. Tramontane

8. I Have Waited All So Long

9. Lonely Children

10. Spellbinder

Foreigner

Dennis Elliot- drums, vocals

Ed Gagliarti- bass, vocals

Lou Gramm- Lead Vocals, percussion

Mick Jones- guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals

Ian McDonald- guitars, keyboards, vocals, reeds

I stand by my assertion that “Double Vision” is the best album by Foreigner. It is a good rocking album that after more than thirty years, has been a solid rock for many great rockers like me.

Next post: Heart- Magazine

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Foreigner

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by 80smetalman

Every male group of friends have their “cruising song.” It is one they all agree they like and one that they thing punctuates them the most. The song can change and another song takes over, but no matter how many times it does or how long it lasts, one song will be designated the cruising song. For a six month period, from October 1977 to April 1978, “Cold As Ice” by Foreigner from the debut album was the cruising song for me and some of my friends.

“Cold as Ice” propelled Foreigner onto the rock scene and got the attention of many listeners, especially rockers like me who were looking for shelter from the disco storm that was all around back then. The hard rock sound breathed a bit of fresh air to the many who embraced it and even for those who weren’t into the even harder rock of Ted Nugent, which I was, it was still a very palletable album.

Track Listing:

1. Feels Like the First Time

2. Cold as Ice

3. Starrider

4. Head Knocker

5. The Damage is Done

6. Long Long Way From Home

7. Woman, Oh Woman

8. At War With the World

9. Fool For You Anyway

10. I Need You

The follow up from “Cold as Ice,” “Feels Like the First Time” was also a very big hit for Foreigner. Although it never became one of my cruising songs, it helped make the debut album establish them as a force in the rock world.

  Foreigner

Dennis Elliot- drums, vocals

Ed Gagliarti- bass, vocals

Lou Gramm- vocals, percussion

Al Greenwood- keyboards, synthesiser

Mick J0nes- guitars, keyboards, vocals

Ian MacDonald- guitar, keyboards

In late 1977, the rivers of rock were flowing fast and was getting close to overflowing. This debut album from Foreigner was one of those which helped speed the rushing waters.

Next post: Styx- The Grand Illusion

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