With ‘Head Games’, Foreigner ventured into the studio with Roy Thomas Baker at the helm. There are some of his trademark production techniques present, but nothing too overwhelming like we heard on The Cars. debut from the previous year and Starcastle from 1977.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Head Games
SERIAL: SD 29999
CD REISSUE: 1995, Atlantic, 82799-2 * many other reissues
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Lou Gramm – vocals * Mick Jones – guitars * Ian McDonald – guitars, keyboards, flute * Al Greenwood – keyboards * Ed Gagliardi – bass * Dennis Elliot – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Dirty White Boy * 02 Love On The Telephone * 03 Women * 04 I’ll Get Even With You * 05 Seventeen * 06 Head Games * 07 The Modern Day * 08 Blinded By Science * 09 Do What You Like * 10 Rev On The Red Line
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Having been bought up on Foreigner since their 1977 debut, I travelled with this band as I navigated my way through High School. Despite enjoying both the debut and ‘Double Vision’, it was this album ‘Head Games’ (their third) which spent the majority of time on my turntable back then. By now, Foreigner had developed a style of their own which was immediately identifiable, thanks to the vocals of Lou Gramm and the harmony laden arrangements which found their way to radio.
With ‘Head Games’, Foreigner ventured into the studio with Roy Thomas Baker at the helm. There are some of his trademark production techniques present, but nothing too overwhelming like we heard on The Cars debut from the previous year and Starcastle from 1977.
The band also presented new bassist Rick Wills, who came in for a departed Ed Gagliardi. As a result, ‘Head Games’ would prove to be Foreigner’s heaviest album, and is arguably, their heaviest record ever. That’s probably half the reason I liked it so much back then, as I was listening to heavier bands like U.F.O, Judas Priest and Van Halen etc.
The two stand-out tracks were the selected hits from the album – the mega-AOR of the title track ‘Head Games’, along with the gritty guitar rocker ‘Dirty White Boy’. Elsewhere though, you won’t be disappointed with the offerings the band present.
For instance ‘Love On The Telephone’ is an aggressive rocker which melds upfront keyboard work with some serious riffing. ‘Women’ is a strutting bluesy workout that is guaranteed to get the feet stomping. Returning to the AOR side of the fence is the effortless ‘I’ll Get Even With You’ – with a cool guitar motif and high-flying synth parts from Greenwood.
For whatever reason, one of the plainest songs on the album ‘Modern Day’ became one of my favourites. Must’ve been all that acoustic guitar within! Which makes the acoustic-oriented ‘Do What You Like’ even more of a winner. A load of synths and emotive vocal phrasing from Gramm makes ‘Blinded By Science’ another album favourite. Closing shop is the compelling rock of ‘Rev On The Red Line’ – featuring big choruses and a sense of the dramatic.
Despite being considered the weaker of all the early Foreigner albums, this one still went platinum. In my opinion, this is one Foreigner album I can play from start to finish and come away satisfied.
Once the honeymoon of this album release had settled, the band went through its first major upheaval with two more members of the band departing. Though Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi would leave at different times, they would eventually hook up with the boys from Harpy to become SPYS.
Ian McDonald would also throw his hand in, not happy with the way the management and the hierarchy of the band was developing. None of the departing members were happy about moving on, but the environment they were in made it that way. In any event, Jones and Gramm, along with Elliot would take Foreigner to another level with the release of ‘4’ two years later, and mega-platinum success. And there begins another chapter of the Foreigner story.
Dirty White Boy
Entire Album (Select Tracks)