Our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list looks at the body of work of an American singer-songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist of the successful rock band Foreigner. After clinching stardom with the band Foreigner, Lou Gramm would later establish a successful solo career. Despite his solo career being short, Lou Gramm managed to deliver two top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100. His success as a solo artist started with the release of the hit “Midnight Blue,” the lead single to his debut album, Ready or Not.
“Midnight Blue” catapulted Lou Gramm’s solo career into mainstream success after it topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. The song gifted the singer his first solo top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number five. Lou Gramm would almost achieve similar success with his 1989 pop rock single “Just Between You and Me,” which peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.
Lou Gramm’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
The 1950-born rock legend started his musical pursuits as a member of the rock band Black Sheep. Lou Gramm assumed the lead vocals role at Black Sheep towards the recording of the band’s 1975 eponymous debut album. The singer also sang lead vocals to the band’s sophomore album, Encouraging Words. While the two albums might not have earned Black Sheep mainstream and commercial success, they helped Lou Gramm earn the attention of former Spooky Tooth member Mick Jones.
Eventually, Mick Jones recruited Lou Gramm to front his new band, Foreigner. Thanks to Lou Gramm’s idiosyncratic vocal delivery that the band achieved success with multiple pop rock hits. The biggest hit Lou Gramm released as Foreigner’s frontman was “I Want to Know What Love Is,” a song that was later covered by Mariah Carey, Tina Arena, Lucky Dube, Wynonna Judd, and Kenny Chesney, to name a few.
While the band’s musical pursuits only seemed to be successful, a lot happened behind the scenes. Lou Gramm and Mick Jones were often involved in creative differences, a move that saw Lou Gramm think of establishing a solo career. Gramm’s suggestion for the band’s musical direction was persistence to its original rock roots. However, Mick Jones had a different idea, proposing evolution to synth-influenced ballads. Eventually, Lou Gramm went on to release a successful solo studio album while still playing with Foreigner.
Lou Gramm’s Album Releases over the Years
In January 1987, Lou Gramm issued his debut album, Ready or Not, through Atlantic Records. This pop-rock record catapulted the singer to mainstream success, peaking at number twenty-seven on the Billboard 200. The album also made it to the Swiss, Swedish, Dutch, Australian, and Canadian Albums Charts. Ready or Not is home to Lou Gramm’s signature hit “Midnight Blue.”
“If I Don’t Have You,” “Ready or Not,” and “Until I Make You Mine” are some of the other best Lou Gramm songs from the album. Lou Gramm would a few months later release with his band Foreigner the album Inside Information. 1987 was a busy and successful year for Lou Gramm, having him also invited to sing the hit “Lost in the Shadows” for the soundtrack of the 1987 comedy horror movie The Lost Boys.
In 1989, Lou Gramm returned with his sophomore solo album, Long Hard Look. The rock album was a success too, peaking at number eighty-five on the Billboard 200. Long Hard Look spawned top hits including “Just Between You and Me,” “True Blue Love,” and “Angel with a Dirty Face.”
Lou Gramm’s Other Musical Pursuits
After departing from his band Foreigner in 1990, Lou Gramm went on to form the hard rock supergroup Shadow King. Lou Gramm was joined by former Foreigner bassist Bruce Turgon, Donnie Iris and the Cruisers’ drummer Kevin Campbell, and Def Leppard guitarist (formerly of Dio) Vivian Campbell in his new journey. However, Shadow King failed to achieve mainstream success forcing its disbandment.
Lou Gramm’s Accolades and Legacy
While Lou Gramm might have established a successful solo career, his legacy stands best thanks to his impactful role as the lead vocalist of the band Foreigner. The singer was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013 together with Mick Jones. Other artists inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame the same year include Tony Hatch, former Device and Spider member Holly Knight, J. D. Souther, and Aerosmith members Joe Perry and Steven Tyler. Here we present ten of the best Lou Gramm songs from the singer’s solo career pursuits.
#10- Lover Come Back
Opening our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the phenomenal hit “Lover Come Back.” The song is among the top songs released on the singer’s debut studio album, Ready or Not. “Lover Come Back” is a heartfelt ballad that finds Lou Gramm trying to talk his lover back to his heart and home. You ought to love the superb work of former Foreigner guitarist Bruce Turgon on the lead guitars. Mark Rivera, best known for his work with Billy Joel, showcases his stunning work of art on the soprano saxophone in this hit.
#9- I’ll Come Running
Very few songs by Lou Gramm can match the true rock feel of the hit “I’ll Come Running.” The song is among the best cuts off Lou Gramm’s sophomore studio album, Long Hard Look. “I’ll Come Running” feels a little ferocious compared to some of the pop-rock hits issued on the singer’s debut album.
Lou Gramm’s vocal intensity on this song is similar to that he delivers on the hits “Angel with a Dirty Face” and the cover of Small Faces’ hit “Tin Soldier.” “I’ll Come Running” features Dann Huff on the lead guitars, leaving Bruce Turgon settling for the rhythm guitars. Huff’s exquisite skills on the lead guitar prove why he was recruited severally by other artists/bands including Whitesnake, Amy Grant, Doro Pesch, Whitney Houston, and Barbra Streisand, to name a few.
#8- Until I Make You Mine
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the intoxicating hit “Until I Make You Mine.” How the song never made it to the charts lives to be a mystery for Lou Gramm’s fans. The misfortunes of this hit probably started when it was placed on the rather passive side two of Lou Gramm’s debut album, Ready or Not.
However, like the hit “Lover Come Back,” “Until I Make You Mine” finds its way to claiming a fan-favorite spot amongst top Lou Gramm songs. Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon collaborated in writing this lyrical masterpiece. Having Nils Lofgren on the lead guitars was a great value addition to the song’s overall quality!
#7- Angel with a Dirty Face
Aggressive yet precise and unmistakably splendid are Lou Gramm’s vocals on this hit! “Angel with a Dirty Face” is Lou Gramm’s best stab into some hard rock sonic influences. The song takes us back to the singer’s signature vocals back when he was just beginning his journey to stardom as an original member of Foreigner.
A narrative of pain and pleasure is all “Angel with a Dirty Face” has to give! Lou Gramm tells it better that love is not always what it seems to be in this hard-rocking ballad. “Angel with a Dirty Face” is featured on Lou Gramm’s sophomore studio album, Long Hard Look.
#6- If I Don’t Have You
Number six on our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the incredible hit “If I Don’t Have You.” The song is among the singer’s best cuts from his debut studio album, Ready or Not. “If I Don’t Have You” finds Lou Gramm giving yet again a stellar performance on the vocals. This rock power ballad finds Lou’s sibling Richard Grammatico taking on the lead guitars. Stanley Sheldon, known for his work with Peter Frampton, takes on the bass guitar role on this ethereal hit.
#5- Lost in the Shadows
After successfully releasing his 1987 debut studio album, Lou Gramm was invited a few months later to contribute to the soundtrack of the film The Lost Boys. The singer recorded the over six-minute hit “Lost in the Shadows” which went on to become one of his best classics!
Thanks to the exquisite nature of the ten-song soundtrack it managed two-time Platinum certification in Australia. Other top hits featured on the soundtrack include “Cry Little Sister” by Gerard McMann, the cover of Elton John’s hit “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Roger Daltrey, and the cover of The Easybeats’ hit “Good Times” by Jimmy Barnes and INXS.
#4- Ready or Not
Upbeat and lively is Lou Gramm’s hit “Ready or Not,” the album title track to his debut album. The singer saw this hit achieve mainstream success thanks to its strong and hard-rocking nature. “Ready or Not” managed to rise to the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, peaking at the seventh spot. The song also made it to number fifty-four on the Billboard Hot 100.
#3- True Blue Love
The third pick of our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the luscious hit “True Blue Love.” With this hit, Lou Gramm goes a little smooth on his hard-hitting rock influences, featuring heavily pop-rock sounds. “True Blue Love” Peter Maunu’s electric guitar tunes make up the skeleton song’s melody. Lou Gramm is joined by Ina Wolf in this song for background vocals.
“True Blue Love” was a success on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, peaking at number twenty-three. The song also made it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number forty. “True Blue Love” showcases the songwriting brilliance of Lou Gramm and Peter Wolf. The two also collaborated in penning the hits “Angel with a Dirty Face,” “Broken Dreams,” and “Day One.”
#2- Just Between You and Me
Lou Gramm and singer-songwriter Holly Knight were both inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013 for their brilliance in lyricism. “Just Between You and Me” is among the fruits of their combined efforts in the songwriting scene. The song is the brightest release by Lou Gramm from his solo studio album, Long Hard Look. “Just Between You and Me” has the pillars towards its success as the relatable lyrical content and a sweltering pre-chorus.
The song’s lyrics allude to a couple battling with issues with the two lovers spilling the beans about it all to others behind each other’s backs. “Just Between You and Me” rose to number four on the Billboard Mainstream Rock and Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts. The song is Lou Gramm’s second highest solo release on the Billboard Hot 100 after “Midnight Blue,” peaking at number six.
#1- Midnight Blue
Number one on our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the outstanding hit “Midnight Blue.” The song is the popular and sought-after pop-rock hit from Lou Gramm’s debut album, Ready or Not. “Midnight Blue” was penned by Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon with its lyrics alluding to the simplicity of life. According to the singer, as his father told him, life is either cherry red or midnight blue.
While cherry red is metaphoric for things taking the best of the trajectories, midnight blue points at things getting dark and mysterious. “Midnight Blue” was Lou Gramm’s debut solo single and first stab at solo success too. The song topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
Feature Photo: Misterweiss, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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