The debut album by Foreigner, (self titled, released on March 8, 1977), was one of my first vinyl record albums that I ever owned. I actually bought the first Foreigner album shortly after receiving their Double Vision album as a birthday gift, back in 1979. (The Double Vision album was released on June 20, 1978). So it is safe to say, that the debut Foreigner album was playing on my turntable sometime in the Spring of 1979. Being an eighth grader in 1979, my exposure to Heavy Metal Music was at it’s most infant state, KISS was the only Heavy Metal Band I owned on album at this time. I always bring up my past history, as to the year of purchase of a said album and what bands I was into at the given time, so to make clarity to the evolvement of my becoming a Metalhead. It was a progression of listening to different Rock genres for me, since I was a kid. This Foreigner album is as integral a piece to that progression, as any other Rock album I ever listened to. Just as the Double Vision album, Foreigner’s debut album had me wanting more and that was a good symptom to have. There definitely was some psychological imbedding that happened to me with Foreigner at a young age, whenever I listen to their albums, (especially the first four), I feel like everything is alright.
What prompted me to blog about this Foreigner debut album is hearing the song Feels Like The First Time on the radio this past Sunday. My family and I just had to endure visiting a sad animal shelter that morning, (we are currently looking to adopt a cat), and all four of us were in quite the funk. I decided to bring my wife to a store that has 70% off of all their Christmas decor, what bargains were truly found – no kidding here. This stop to purchase Christmas decor was just the elixir of happy that my wife and daughters needed after a somber morning of seeing so many poor and sickly cats. My elixir of happy was hearing Foreigner on the store’s radio. As I have stated, Foreigner puts me on the – everything is alright trip. I actually felt my face give off a smile and get all flushed while I heard this Foreigner song. On the drive home from this store, I wished there was a Foreigner CD in the car… trust me, there has been many times.
This experience is just a fine example of how a band and their album can pull me right in… and take me back, while making my mood alright again. That is the magic of Rock and Roll, these are the benchmarks of an album and/or song that cannot be critiqued by lazy Rolling Stone Magazine writers who have not a clue. The personal memories and feelings that are stored within oneself, due to the impact from a Rock Band of any genre, their albums, an individual song or a concert experience from such band… money cannot buy, man. Listening to Foreigner’s debut again, reminds me as to why the Classic Rock genre exists. This album is a Rock Classic. Foreigner is in my Metal Odyssey Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Too bad that big, pompous building in Cleveland, Ohio, doesn’t get it.
I grin each time I stare at the front cover image of the band, on the Foreigner debut front cover. The first impression is – these are gentlemen. Hard Rock gentlemen, that is. The maturity that this front cover image evokes, also mirrors the maturity of the music heard from this Foreigner album. It wasn’t about boobs and beer, rebellion or political commentary, it was about quality Rock and Hard Rock songs. From the lyrics to each songs structure, Foreigner presented to the world a sophisticated, yet Hard edged sound, that could be radio friendly and street cool at the same time. Two of my favorite songs from Foreigner are not even considered to be hits at all. Headknocker and Starrider are two songs from this album that are individualistic and represent the two sides of Foreigner’s Rock style. Headknocker being the Hard Rock cranker and Starrider introducing Foreigner’s adoration for a more melodic, Rock ballad. I really like Starrider for it’s almost cosmic musical ambiance, the keyboards and chorus are what sets this song apart, for me. This is just me, yet it would be a kick to hear W.A.S.P. or Judas Priest cover Headknocker.
Long, Long Way From Home is without doubt, Lou Gramm singing at his very finest. Man, his vocals alone, makes this song resonate with powerful emotion. Cold As Ice will always be the hit staple from this Foreigner album… rightfully so. I would not argue that it is as important a Rock single as any from the 1970′s. Regardless of decades passing by, this Foreigner debut album is, yes, timeless. It may sound cliche, still those Rock and Hard Rock albums from days gone by, like this very album, need to be revisited and remembered for their Rock and Roll historical importance and sheer quality.