[Review] Foreigner: Records (1982)

A best-of compilation that captures the band before the ballads took over.

Kronomyth 5.0: Juke box heroes.

Thirty minutes of bliss. And seven minutes of “Hot Blooded” that I’m kind of cool on. Records is the best of Foreigner, featuring all of the big singles from the first four albums. It’s rare for a label to pull the trigger after only four records when the horse is still running (cf. The Doors, The Eagles), but the best of what followed from Foreigner were ballads (“I Want To Know What Love Is,” “Say You Will”) and this album’s already got one (“Waiting For A Girl Like You”). Don’t even think of slipping another ballad on here before you add “Blue Morning, Blue Day” or “Love Has Taken Its Toll.”

I didn’t have a lot of use for Records at first because the idea of buying only one Foreigner album was foreign to me. But, I have to admit, it does get you off the hook from buying their third and fourth albums. No such amnesty for the first two; you have to buy them, right now. But here’s where Records throws you a bone: these are actually the single versions, which are slightly different than the elpee versions. In most cases, they’re just shorter, but the single version of “Cold As Ice” that opens this album is noticeably different for the addition of strings. (I actually thought about putting an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, and then I realized that most people have a life.)

Atlantic revisited the greatest hits theme in the early 90s with an ostensibly better 16-track collection; it actually drops “Long, Long Way From Home” in favor of “Women.” Records reminds us (for too brief a time) that Foreigner made some of the best music on the planet, and packaged it in some of the worst cover art. I mean, my God, they double-dipped The Doobie Brothers.

Original elpee version

A1. Cold As Ice (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm) (3:19)
A2. Double Vision (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones) (3:29)
A3. Head Games (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones) (3:37)
A4. Waiting for a Girl Like You (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm) (4:35)
A5. Feels Like the First Time (Mick Jones) (3:28)
B1. Urgent (Mick Jones) (3:57)
B2. Dirty White Boy (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm) (3:13)
B3. Juke Box Hero (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones) (4:03)
B4. Long, Long Way from Home (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm/Ian McDonald) (2:47)
B5. Hot Blooded (live) (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones) (6:55)

The Players

Dennis Elliott (drums), Lou Gramm (lead vocals, percussion), Mick Jones (lead guitar, keyboards, background vocals), Rick Wills (bass guitar, background vocals) with Bob Mayo (guitar and background vocals on B5) and Mark Rivera (clavinet and background vocals on B5).

The Pictures

Cover photo by Allen Levin. Interior photo by Frank Moscati. Art direction and design by Bob Defrin, Lynn Dreese Breslin.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and compact disc in December 1982 in the US (Atlantic, 80999) and the UK, Canada and Germany (Atlantic, 78 09991/4) with diecut cover. Reached #10 on the US charts (RIAA-certified 7x platinum record) and #58 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in Japan (Atlantic, AMCY-4064).
  2. Re-released on remastered compact disc on September 18, 1995 in the US (Atlantic, 82800).

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