GRAMMY-nominated rock band Foreigner recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, founding member Mick Jones and current vocalist Kelly Hansen discussed some of the greatest moments of the band's career and music education. Foreigner also performed an acoustic set featuring hits such as "Hot Blooded," "Juke Box Hero" and the No. 1 hit "I Want To Know What Love Is."
"It started out very simply as just a personal romantic song, and gradually it just accumulated more of a universal feeling,'" said Jones on writing "I Want To Know What Love Is." "Nobody had really ever worked with a gospel choir, so we took a chance. … Before we did the take [the New Jersey Mass Choir] said the Lord's prayer and … I was just like, 'Wow, I don't know what's going to happen here but I think it's going to be good.' And it was. It was an incredible emotional experience. And the song went on to do what it did."
Foreigner was originally formed by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jones in New York in the mid-'70s. The band issued their self-titled debut album in 1977 featuring original vocalist Lou Gramm, with whom Jones co-wrote songs such as "Cold As Ice" and "Long, Long Way From Home." The album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and helped earn Foreigner a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist. Double Vision was released in 1978 and peaked at No. 3, followed by 1979's Head Games and 1981's 4, the latter of which peaked at No. 1 and earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. Agent Provocateur was released in 1985 and earned the band their third GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "I Want To Know What Love Is." The release of Inside Information in 1987 marked one of the last with Gramm, who departed the band in 1989. (Gramm and Jones reunited in the '90s and issued several greatest hits collections as well as a brand-new studio effort, 1995's Mr. Moonlight.)
In 2005 Foreigner added former Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen and released 2009's Can't Slow Down, a CD/DVD set featuring remixed recordings of Foreigner hits such as "Double Vision," "Cold As Ice" and "Feels Like The First Time." The album peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard 200. The band's current lineup consists of Hansen and Jones, along with keyboardist Michael Bluestein, saxist Tom Gimbel and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pilson. Foreigner is currently on a global tour, with dates scheduled through August.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Great Guitars: Orianthi (March 11), Icons Of The Music Industry: Clive Davis (March 20) and An Evening With Gordon Lightfoot (March 21).