Foreigner - 4
And this time ... "4" - the fourth studio album from, "Foreigner", released on July 2, 1981.
This is one of the band's best-selling albums, with sales of over 7 million copies in the US alone.
Upon its release, the album jumped straight to number one spot on the Billboard and held the top for 10 consecutive weeks.
The album was originally intended to be called "Silent Partners", but the band decided to change its name to "4", as this is the fourth album and also because the band dropped from six members to only four.
The departure of multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald and keyboardist Al Greenwood brought a change in the band's style and the completion of the transition that began with the previous album "Head Games", from hard rock style towards pop and mainstream. Mick Jones fired the two, among other things, out of a desire to control the band's musical direction, leaning only on the rhythm division of veteran drummer Dennis Elliott and bassist Rick Wills who previously played with Peter Frampton, "Roxy Music", "The Small Faces" and in the debut David Gilmour's album, and joined the band on the previous album.
As a result of the departure of the two, all the songs on the album without exception were written by Jones or in collaboration with Jones and Lou Gramm who simply stood out here in his tremendous singing. At the same time, since the two were part of the sessions and rehearsals for the album, where they played saxophone and keyboards, among other things, it was necessary to find replacement studio session players to perform these roles.
To Implement his vision, Jones collaborated with legendary producer Robert "Mutt" Lange who was responsible for the biggest comeback in rock history with "AC/DC's" "Back In Black" album. Lang was also responsible for the meteoric success of "AC/DC" on the album "Highway To Hell" and later would do his magic with "Def Leppard" on the albums "Pyromania" and, "Hysteria", their mighty breakthrough albums.
Five successful singles have been released from the album, including the hits: "Urgent", "Juke Box Hero" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You".
"Juke Box Hero" was written by Mick Jones about an incident that happened at one of the band's shows in the city of Cincinnati. Mick saw one of the fans standing in the rain during the sound check. About five hours later as they were getting ready for the stage Jones noticed the same fan still standing in the rain-soaked in water. He asked the security people to put him behind the stage and this song was written about him. Mick thought he was "Juke Box Hero." It is interesting to note that the dramatic drum opening of the song was led by singer Lou Gramm who was a drummer in his past.
In the song "Urgent" the band was assisted by musician and producer Thomas Dolby who played the synthesizer as well as by the multi-instrumentalist and Motown artist Junior Walker who played the saxophone here. Walker had a show several blocks from the studio where the album was recorded and the band saw it in the local newspaper and asked him to come to the studio and play the saxophone in the song. Walker agreed and even played with the band on stage after the album's release.
In the ballad "Waiting for a Girl Like You" the band was assisted by Thomas Dolby who adorns the song with synthesizers, in particular the all-too-familiar overture. This overture was written by Ian McDonald before he was dismissed from the band. This song became the band's most successful song. In his autobiography, Lou Gramm tells about a mysterious girl who stayed in the studio during the recording of the song and gave him the inspiration for the amazing vocal performance he gave here.
The album also features "Luanne" with its 1950s scent and "Break It Up" - one of the beautiful tracks on the album reminiscent of the old "Foreigner" with the amazing combination of Jones' strong and catchy riffs with the bouncy keyboards and the all-too-beautiful vocal harmonies.