Top 10 Lou Gramm Songs

Lou Gramm Songs

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. 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” was a pivotal track in Lou Gramm’s solo career, launching him into mainstream success after it topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. This song not only provided Gramm with his first solo top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number five, but it also set a high standard for his subsequent releases.

Following the success of “Midnight Blue,” Lou Gramm continued to make waves in the music industry with his 1989 pop-rock single “Just Between You and Me,” which also performed impressively, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100. Both tracks exemplify Gramm’s knack for crafting catchy, well-composed songs that resonate with a wide audience, solidifying his reputation as a talented solo artist distinct from his work with Foreigner.

Lou Gramm’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough

Born in 1950, rock legend Lou Gramm began his musical career as the lead vocalist of the rock band Black Sheep. With Gramm at the helm, Black Sheep released their eponymous debut album in 1975, followed by their sophomore effort, Encouraging Words. Although these albums did not catapult the band to mainstream success, they played a crucial role in showcasing Gramm’s vocal talents, ultimately catching the attention of Mick Jones, a former member of Spooky Tooth.

Jones was assembling a new band, which would become known as Foreigner, and he saw in Gramm the ideal frontman for this new venture. With Gramm’s distinctive vocal style, Foreigner soared to great heights, churning out multiple pop rock hits. Among the most notable was “I Want to Know What Love Is,” a massive success that would later be covered by artists like Mariah Carey, Tina Arena, Lucky Dube, Wynonna Judd, and Kenny Chesney.

Despite their success, tensions brewed behind the scenes, primarily due to creative differences between Gramm and Jones. While Gramm wanted to stay true to the band’s rock roots, Jones was inclined towards evolving the band’s sound with synth-influenced ballads. These disagreements eventually led Gramm to pursue a solo career, even as he continued to perform with Foreigner. His solo endeavors proved successful, allowing him the creative freedom he sought while still contributing to Foreigner’s legacy

Lou Gramm’s Album Releases over the Years

In January 1987, Lou Gramm made a significant impact with his debut solo album, Ready or Not, released through Atlantic Records. This pop-rock record propelled Gramm to mainstream success, reaching number twenty-seven on the Billboard 200 and charting in Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada. Ready or Not features what would become one of Gramm’s signature songs, “Midnight Blue.”

Other notable tracks from the album include “If I Don’t Have You,” “Ready or Not,” and “Until I Make You Mine.” 1987 proved to be a particularly busy and successful year for Gramm; not only did he release his debut solo album, but he also contributed to Foreigner’s album Inside Information and was invited to sing “Lost in the Shadows” for the soundtrack of the 1987 comedy-horror movie The Lost Boys.

In 1989, Gramm returned with his sophomore solo album, Long Hard Look, which also enjoyed success, peaking at number eighty-five on the Billboard 200. This rock album 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 leaving Foreigner in 1990, Gramm formed the hard rock supergroup Shadow King, which included former Foreigner bassist Bruce Turgon, drummer Kevin Campbell from Donnie Iris and the Cruisers, and Def Leppard guitarist (formerly of Dio) Vivian Campbell. However, Shadow King did not achieve mainstream success and eventually disbanded.

Lou Gramm’s Accolades and Legacy

While Lou Gramm established a notable solo career, his lasting legacy is most prominently defined by his role as the lead vocalist of Foreigner. In 2013, Gramm was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Mick Jones. That year, other inductees included Tony Hatch, Holly Knight (formerly of Device and Spider), J.D. Souther, and Aerosmith members Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, highlighting Gramm’s significant contribution to music.

Here we present ten of the best Lou Gramm songs from his solo career, each showcasing his exceptional talent and influence as a musician.

# 10 – Lover Come Back

Kicking off our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the standout track “Lover Come Back” from his debut studio album, Ready or Not. This heartfelt ballad features Lou Gramm in a poignant plea, attempting to win back the heart and presence of a lost love. The song is highlighted by the exceptional guitar work of Bruce Turgon, a former member of Foreigner, whose contributions enrich the musical landscape of the track.

Mark Rivera on the soprano saxophone adds to the song’s rich texture, whose performance adds a layer of emotional depth and sophistication. Rivera, known for his collaborations with Billy Joel, brings his unique artistry to the table, making “Lover Come Back” a vocal showcase for Gramm and a well-rounded musical masterpiece. This track sets a strong tone for Gramm’s solo work, distinct from his Foreigner days, showcasing his ability to blend powerful lyrics with compelling instrumentation.

# 9- I’ll Come Running

“I’ll Come Running” stands out as one of the true rock gems in Lou Gramm’s discography, featured prominently on his sophomore album, Long Hard Look. This track brings a more ferocious edge compared to the pop-rock style prevalent on his debut album, showcasing a rawer side of Gramm’s musical persona. Lou Gramm delivers a vocal performance on “I’ll Come Running” that mirrors the intensity found in other notable tracks like “Angel with a Dirty Face” and his cover of the Small Faces’ “Tin Soldier.”

The song features Dann Huff on lead guitars, whose prowess is distinctly showcased here. Known for his versatile guitar work, Huff has been a sought-after musician for various artists and bands across genres, including Whitesnake, Amy Grant, Doro Pesch, Whitney Houston, and Barbra Streisand. His contribution adds a powerful dynamic to the track, complementing Gramm’s forceful vocals. Meanwhile, Bruce Turgon, who previously shone on lead guitar, provides solid support on rhythm guitar, rounding out a robust rock arrangement that highlights Gramm’s strengths as a rock vocalist.

# 8 – Until I Make You Mine

Landing at number eight on our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the captivating “Until I Make You Mine.” Surprisingly, despite its allure, this track never hit the charts, a fact that continues to puzzle fans of Lou Gramm. Nonetheless, “Until I Make You Mine” mirrors the charm of hits like “Lover Come Back,” securing its place as a fan favorite.

The song showcases a collaborative effort in songwriting between Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon, who together crafted what many consider a lyrical masterpiece. The addition of Nils Lofgren on lead guitar not only enhances the track’s musical depth but also adds a layer of distinguished artistry, elevating the overall quality of the song. This track exemplifies the potent combination of strong lyrical content and expert musicianship that defines much of Gramm’s solo work.

# 7 – Angel with a Dirty Face

“Angel with a Dirty Face” stands out as a highlight in Lou Gramm’s illustrious career, showcasing his ability to infuse hard rock elements with his distinct vocal style. Featured on his sophomore studio album, Long Hard Look, this track revisits the aggressive, precise, and splendid vocal delivery that marked Gramm’s early days as a powerhouse singer with Foreigner.

The song delves into a narrative rich in pain and pleasure, exploring the complexities of love and its deceptive appearances. “Angel with a Dirty Face” captures the essence of a hard-rocking ballad, where Gramm’s storytelling prowess shines, portraying the emotional depth and the rocky nuances of romantic entanglements. This track not only demonstrates Gramm’s vocal versatility but also his deep understanding of rock’s emotive potential, making it a standout piece in his solo repertoire.

# 6 – If I Don’t Have You

Number six on our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the poignant hit “If I Don’t Have You,” a standout track from his debut studio album, Ready or Not. This song highlights Lou Gramm’s exceptional vocal abilities, demonstrating why he’s celebrated as one of rock’s most commanding voices.

“If I Don’t Have You” is a powerful rock ballad that showcases Gramm’s vocal brilliance and features a family connection with his sibling, Richard Grammatico, delivering compelling lead guitar work. Stanley Sheldon further enriches the musical arrangement on bass guitar, whose experience with Peter Frampton adds a seasoned touch to the track. This song not only captivates with its emotional depth but also exemplifies the strong musicality that defines Gramm’s solo career, making it a cherished piece among fans.

# 5 – Lost in the Shadows

After the success of his 1987 debut studio album, Ready or Not, Lou Gramm was tapped to contribute to the soundtrack of the cult classic film The Lost Boys. For this project, Gramm recorded “Lost in the Shadows,” a track that extends over six minutes and has since become one of his most iconic songs.

“Lost in the Shadows” captures the eerie, moody atmosphere of the film while showcasing Gramm’s powerful vocal delivery and rock sensibilities. The song’s driving rhythms and haunting melodies perfectly complement the film’s vampire theme, making it a standout track in the movie and Gramm’s career.

The soundtrack succeeded significantly, notably receiving a two-time Platinum certification in Australia. It features several other popular tracks, including “Cry Little Sister” by Gerard McMann, a cover of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Roger Daltrey, and a rendition of The Easybeats’ “Good Times” by Jimmy Barnes and INXS. Together, these songs contribute to a soundtrack that remains beloved by fans of the film and music enthusiasts alike.

# 4 – Ready or Not

Upbeat and lively, “Ready or Not” is not only the title track of Lou Gramm’s debut solo album but also one of his most successful hits. This song exemplifies Gramm’s prowess in crafting strong, hard-rocking tracks that resonate with a wide audience. Its energetic riff and catchy chorus helped “Ready or Not” climb the charts, showcasing Gramm’s seamless transition from the lead vocalist of Foreigner to a solo artist with a distinct sound.

The track achieved considerable success on the charts, peaking at number seven on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and reaching number fifty-four on the Billboard Hot 100. This commercial performance underscored Gramm’s ability to capture the essence of rock music while appealing to the mainstream, solidifying “Ready or Not” as a significant and enduring piece in his discography.

#3- True Blue Love

The third pick on our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the melodious hit “True Blue Love.” In this track, Lou Gramm tempers his usual hard-rock edge with a softer, pop-rock sound. The song features Peter Maunu’s electric guitar, which forms the core of the melody, adding a lush and vibrant layer to the track.

Lou Gramm is joined by Ina Wolf on background vocals, enhancing the song’s rich harmonic texture. “True Blue Love” enjoyed success on the charts, reaching number twenty-three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and peaking at number forty on the Billboard Hot 100.

This track not only highlights Gramm’s versatility as a vocalist but also showcases his songwriting skills alongside Peter Wolf. Together, they have crafted other notable hits such as “Angel with a Dirty Face,” “Broken Dreams,” and “Day One,” proving their effective collaboration in producing memorable music that resonates with fans across different musical preferences.

# 2 – Just Between You and Me

Lou Gramm and songwriter Holly Knight, both inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013, collaborated on the standout track “Just Between You and Me” from Gramm’s solo album, Long Hard Look. This song is notable for its compelling lyrical content and dynamic pre-chorus, making it one of the brightest releases from Gramm’s solo career.

The lyrics of “Just Between You and Me” explore the dynamics of a couple struggling with personal issues, with each partner confiding in others behind the other’s back. This relatable theme and the song’s engaging musical composition propelled it to success on the charts. It reached number four on the Billboard Mainstream Rock and Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts. Additionally, “Just Between You and Me” became Lou Gramm’s second-highest solo release on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number six, just after “Midnight Blue.”

#1- Midnight Blue

Number one on our top 10 Lou Gramm songs list is the iconic hit “Midnight Blue,” a standout pop-rock track from his debut solo album, Ready or Not. “Midnight Blue” was co-written by Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon. The lyrics reflect on the straightforward yet profound advice Gramm received from his father, framing life’s experiences as either cherry red or midnight blue.

In this metaphor, “cherry red” represents times when everything goes well, while “midnight blue” symbolizes the darker, more mysterious periods. This song not only marked Gramm’s first foray into a solo career but also became his most successful solo single. “Midnight Blue” resonated with a wide audience, topping the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100. Its catchy melody combined with the reflective lyrics helped cement “Midnight Blue” as a timeless piece in Gramm’s illustrious career.

Feature Photo: Misterweiss, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Lou Gramm Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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