Did Foreigner Miss The Boat?

Foreigner's new lineup

In the late 1970s, the band to beat was Foreigner.  They sold millions of records beginning in 1977 when their self-titled debut spawned the monster hits “Feels Like The First Time,” “Cold As Ice” and “Long, Long Way From Home.”  They have sold 50 million albums around the world, and in their heyday were a powerhouse live act.

So why aren’t they enjoying the same success that like-minded arena rockers Journey is having?  Well, for one thing Foreigner didn’t make a deal to sell their records at Wal-Mart.  Journey and the Eagles made deals with the department store giant and sold millions; AC/DC’s Black Ice, to be released on Columbia Records this October, will be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores. 

Mick Jones

And Foreigner’s next mistake was releasing yet another double CD of their greatest hits, No End In Sight.  Guitarist/band founder Mick Jones is the only original left in Foreigner, and the new lineup includes former Dokken bass player Jeff Pilson, drummer Jason Bonham (UFO, Led Zeppelin) and lead singer Kelly Hansen (Hurricane).  Although the one new song on No End In Sight, “Too Late,” is OK, Hansen is no match for Foreigner’s long-time lead singer Lou Gramm.  Gramm had some serious health problems and is now a born-again Christian who has a pretty decent solo career going.

On a recent TV appearance Jones said the new lineup is working up some more material for a possible album.  But it seems they’re missing the boat – Bonham will surely go back to his father’s old band for a possible tour next year, and this summer would have been a good time to latch on to Journey’s coattails for one more ride into the spotlight.

Today we have, from No End In Sight, a live rendition of “Juke Box Hero” with Kelly Hansen and a snippet of “Whole Lotta Love” for laughs.  And for even more fun, “Dirty White Boy” from 1979 with Lou Gramm.

MP3: “Medley: Juke Box Hero/Whole Lotta Love” (live) by Foreigner 

MP3: “Dirty White Boy”

Foreigner official website

Lou Gramm’s official website

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