Foreigner hit the scene in 1977 with the hit Feels Like The First Time. It was an instant FM radio classic and could be heard blaring from car stereos, boom boxes at local parks and from the windows of suburban houses everywhere parents were not home.

Part of the so called “Arena Rock” genre, Foreigner was a slick, well produced album filled with catchy hooks and music that was just heavy enough to be loved by teenagers, but not by their parents. In addiction to Feels Like The First Time, the album also spawned a second big hit in Cold As Ice and a lesser but still popular hit called Long Long Way From Home. It’s an outstanding album. Foreigner even managed to put a couple of soft and slower melodic songs on this album that didn’t cross the line by getting too sappy and going into power ballad territory, something which would become an issue later in their career. Fool For You Anyway for example is a love song that holds Foreigner’s credibility as a rock band firmly in place.

Following the self titled debut was Double Vision in 1978. This album yielded an even bigger hit, Hot Blooded, as well as the title track hit Double Vision and lesser hit Blue Morning Blue Day. Wildly popular, this album essentially picked up right where the debut left off. It didn’t break any new ground, and it didn’t try to. Foreigner knew who their audience was, and they gave their mostly male teenage fan base another great album to play over and over and over again.

The third in Foreigner’s trio of great albums, an album called Head Games is where things got tricky for the band. Critics absolutely hated this album. They hated the cover, which depicts a young girl in a short skirt looking scared while wiping graffiti off the stall inside a men’s bathroom. Critics also hated the album’s first hit, Dirty White Boy which many said was highly derivative of their hit Hot Blooded from the previous album. And as if that wasn’t enough complaining from critics, they also managed to take aim at the lyrics to the song Women, which they labeled as misogynistic, and for the most part, correctly so.

The album however, was and still is terrific. It’s Foreigner’s heaviest and most gritty album and while Dirty White Boy and the title track Head Games were the albums two major hits, it also yielded a slew of terrific songs including Rev On The Red Line which became a classic rock anthem among car enthusiast teens as the 1970’s came to a close.

Head Games has gained respect over the years from music fans familiar with the era, and also from casual Foreigner fans, but serious fans of the band who were around since the beginning have always recognized it’s greatness even though critics still haven’t quite followed suit.

For those wondering, hey, what about Foreigner 4? Why isn’t that here? Why isn’t this a foursome of fabulous albums? That’s a good question and the answer is simple. 4 is a good album. It’s solid for sure, and became Foreigner’s biggest album to date. But that doesn’t mean it’s great. Foreigner began to lose its way with 4. The edge disappeared in favor of more catchy, less heavy music and it simply didn’t live up to the greatness of the first three records.

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