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Lou Gramm recalls how songwriting credit was split in Foreigner hit

Lou Gramm

Classic Rock

Lou Gramm recalls how songwriting credit was split in Foreigner hit

The ex-Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm was part of the most successful era of the band from 1976 to 1990, returning from 1992 to 2003 and then being an occasional special guest in 2017 and 2018. The musician recalled in an interview with The Sessions (Transcribed by Ultimate Classic Rock) that he didn’t liked the way that the songwriting credits of the band’s biggest hit “I Want To Know What Love Is” were split. According to him, founder and guitarist of the group Mick Jones kept the whole credits to himself because of “greed”.


Lou Gramm recalls how songwriting credit was split in Foreigner hit “I Want To Know What Love Is”:

“(Mick Jones’) home was about 15 minutes from my home. So I would drive over to his house and we would work on that song. There’d be moments where it was just magic and then we’d hit our head on something creatively that we couldn’t get to the next point. And so we almost had to put the song away for a couple of weeks and come back to it again. I felt we had worked our tails off to make that song what it is.”

“When it was time to decide what the percentages were, I wrote down what I thought it should be and he wrote down what he thought it should be. I think I wrote down 65-35 — 35 for me, 65 for him. And I opened the little piece of paper that [had] what he thought (the correct split) was, and he wrote down 95-5. I was so stunned and crushed that he’d think I contributed next to nothing to that song.”

“I should get 25 (percent) just for the vocal performance. All I could think of was greed. It was an awesome song. We all knew it was gonna be a smash. This was his chance to step on me. And you know what I told him after 95-5? I said, ‘Five, Mick?’ I said, ‘You should just keep it all.’ And he did. He didn’t say, ‘No, Lou. Please. Let’s work it out.’ I said, ‘Five percent for me after all the work I did on the song?’ I said, ‘You should just keep it all.’ And he didn’t say anything. He just kept it all. And you know the millions and millions that that song has brought in?” Lou Gramm said.

The song

“I Want To Know What Love Is” was first released on the band’s 1984  album “Agent Provocateur” and became Foreigner’s only number 1 single in the United Kingdom and United States, staying at the top of the charts in both countries for 3 and 2 weeks, respectively. The song was also recorded by Pop singer Mariah Carey in 2009 for the album “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel”, also becoming a hit for her.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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