Friday, July 06, 2012

Songs of Summer, #17 - "Urgent" (1981)

Thirty-odd years after the peak period of their success, it's quite clear that Foreigner's strength was that they were a great singles band.  Every one of their first five albums was OK overall, but put those singles together, and you've got yourself one killer of an album - from "Feels Like the First Time" in 1977 through "I Want to Know What Love Is" in 1984, the band was at or near the top of the singles charts an embarrasing number of times, and what remains of the group (Mick Jones and a bunch of sidemen, from what I can tell) has made a decent living at milking that cash cow.

The best of them all was 1981's "Urgent," which should go on any short list of the great singles of the decade.  The song was fueled by a propulsive beat and a vocal from Lou Gramm that was a heck of a lot more direct than what he usually committed to vinyl, but it was lifted into the stratoshpere by a remarkable sax solo by none other than Junior Walker himself.  For 30 seconds, Walker sounds as if he is warding off the devil himself - simply put, it is one of the great solos of all time.  It's remarkable stuff, and probably deserves a small wing of the Hall of Fame all by itself.

"Urgent," Foreigner, from the summer of 1981.


No comments: