Monday, December 31, 2018

Original Foreigner singer Lou Gramm retires from solo performances

Original Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm has announced his retirement from solo performances.

The Albany Times-Union reports the rocker broke the news to fans at the conclusion of his December 29 show at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, NY.

"It's been quite a few years with a lot of fun and a lot of hard work,” Gramm told the crowd (see video below). “Just talking it over with my wife and some people in the business… You get real excited when you start out in this business, but you've gotta be smart enough to know when to walk away from it too. And I just feel it's that time for me.

"I just wanted to let you know I've had a hell of a good time, and this [show] has been one of the best ones."

Guitarist and producer Mick Jones formed Foreigner in New York in 1976 via a series of jams that saw him connect with keyboardist Al Greenwood, multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, drummer Dennis Elliott, bassist Ed Gagliardi and – after an extensive search for a singer – Gramm was brought in to front the band.

1977 saw the release of Foreigner’s self-titled debut, which reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 on its way to US sales of more than 5 million copies thanks to the Top 10 hits “Feels Like The First Time” and “Cold As Ice.”

A series of multi-platinum albums followed, including 1978’s “Double Vision”, 1979’s “Head Games” and 1981’s “4”, helping the group flourish with 16 Top 30 hits while going on to sell more than 75 million albums worldwide.

Following his exit from Foreigner for a solo career in 1990; Gramm toured for years before being diagnosed with an egg-sized brain tumor in 1997. After being given a death sentence by several physicians, he learned of a then-revolutionary laser surgery being done by a doctor in Boston. The singer underwent a life-saving operation to remove the tumor and then faced radiation treatments and several years of rehab before reaching a full recovery.

The rocker rejoined Foreigner between 1999 and 2003 before leaving again; these days, the band continue to record and perform with lead vocalist Kelly Hansen.

Gramm and the surviving members of the original lineup reunited with Foreigner during the group’s 40th anniversary tour in 2017 and through several shows in 2018.

With his retirement from solo touring, Gramm will continue to appear with supergroup The Rock Pack in 2019; created by former Asia singer John Payne, the outfit features a rotating lineup of vocalists performing their iconic hit and classics.

See also:

Foreigner announce more reunion shows following Sturgis concert
Foreigner announce reunion concert with original members
VIDEO: Foreigner and Whitesnake launch summer North American tour
Foreigner top US classical charts with live orchestral release
Search Foreigner at hennemusic