Number Ones: #117


  • FOREIGNER Say You Will (Atlantic)
  • Week Ending 19th December 1987
  • 1 Week At #1


Exactly three years on from Agent Provocateur, Foreigner returned with a new single and album. In Britain, it was a risky strategy to put anything out during late November and early December, since the chances were it would end up lost amid the deluge of seasonal and novelty records. Agent Provocateur itself got off to a slow start, debuting at #47 before the chart-topping success of I Want To Know What Love Is carried the album in its slipstream through the first weeks of 1985.

The problem in 1987 was that Say You Will wasn’t another I Want To Know What Love Is. As a fan, I eagerly purchased it on release, and obviously liked it enough to topple Level 42 from their perch after only one week. Decent, solid Foreigner mid-tempo tracks are superior to a lot of other music, after all. There was a bit of that Agent Provocateur magic dust in the feel of the track, even if it could never be classed as anything truly special.

It helped that I bought both the single and the Inside Information album at the same time, in the same Tower Records store in West London. It was already dark by late afternoon, and the whole experience created a little bit of much-needed solace and excitement. It felt like the perfect place to buy Foreigner music, other than actually in America.

Inside Information was a fine album, home to several excellent tracks, and it topped my own personal chart, but predictably got lost in the pre-Christmas marketplace. Without a hit single of any note, it never managed to rise higher than #64 during two months in the lower reaches of the UK Top 100. Say You Will followed the pattern of all recent Foreigner singles that weren’t ballads, and never got near the Top 40.

In the US, the story was more promising, with both Say You Will and designated big ballad I Don’t Want To Live Without You reaching the Billboard Top 10, and Inside Information consolidating a place in the Top 20. Yet the formula had probably run its course, while tensions between chief songwriter Mick Jones and lead singer Lou Gramm meant it would be the final Foreigner album with this line-up.



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