Lou Gramm Reveals What Separates Foreigner From Other Bands

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In a recent interview with VRP Rocks, Lou Gramm of Foreigner reminisced about the pivotal record deal that set them apart from their contemporaries. Reflecting on the past, Gramm shared how initially, despite several record labels attending their rehearsals, they were met with indifference:

“Our manager arranged for record labels to come witness our rehearsals, eager to gauge our live sound. Approximately seven labels graced us with their presence, yet each one ultimately passed on us.”

But the band’s journey didn’t culminate there. Gramm went on to recount the turning point orchestrated by former A&R luminary John Kalodner, who recognized the distinctive essence within Foreigner’s music:

“Shortly after, John Kalodner approached us, expressing a keen interest. He remarked, ‘I truly want to engage with you guys. Your songs possess a rare quality – each distinct yet collectively cohesive. They exude a uniqueness absent in many contemporary acts.'”

Foreigner’s path to securing their deal was not without its challenges. Much like Queen’s iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which faced criticism for its length, Foreigner encountered similar scrutiny during their quest for a record deal. Gramm recalled the negotiations:

“We were advised to condense our tracks, with a directive to trim them down to radio-friendly durations. The suggestion echoed Queen’s predicament. ‘The demos and live renditions,’ they said, ‘averaged between six and eight minutes.’ To fit the radio format, we had to pare them down to concise, impactful pieces.”

Despite these obstacles, Foreigner persevered. Gramm recounted the pivotal moment when Atlantic Records, under Jerry Greenberg’s helm, recognized their potential:

“After presenting the edited versions, Greenberg’s enthusiasm for our music remained undimmed. However, he faced a conundrum due to their length. Yet, he swiftly produced a contract. Our manager promptly engaged legal counsel, and within a fortnight, the deal was sealed.”

In the annals of music history, Foreigner’s journey serves as a testament to resilience and the power of distinctive artistry to triumph against adversity.

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