30 years of Foreigner’s Unusual Heat

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30 years of Foreigner’s Unusual Heat

Foreigner with lead singer, Johnny Edwards, 1991. Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images. 

We’re remembering Foreigner’s 7th studio album, Unusual Heat, released in June 1991 and celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. 


foreigner unusual heat


Unusual Heat was Foreigner’s only album to feature lead singer, Johnny Edwards who brought his soaring 80s rock vocal into the mix. He replaced original lead singer Lou Gramm who had parted ways with the band the year before. At the time, Edwards was fronting his own band, Wild Horses which he was reluctant to leave because they had just signed a record deal with Atlantic, but Mick Jones was particularly persistent – and some offers are just too good to refuse!

Jones told UCR: "We were in rehearsal and talks with a couple of guys who were both strong candidates and had kind of a name. I felt eventually that it was probably going to be better to not try and put an all-star band together, but to keep on the same kind of path with four people being involved in making a record and not really, I think I would probably say, cheapening the band at that point — cheapening the meaning and the direction of the band."

As Johnny Edwards remembers it: “I turned it down and then they just kept turning up the pressure. For some reason, they really wanted me to check it out, and then they came out to L.A. and [Jones] flew me back to New York on the Rolling Stone jet with Jann Wenner and all of these crazy things. The more I got to know them, the more I felt like, 'Wow, they really do want to try to start fresh' and they weren’t trying to make me be something I wasn’t. Mick wanted to start from scratch and write songs. He listened to every song I had, which was a lot.”

Foreigner | “Lowdown and Dirty” 

And when Unusual Heat arrived in June 1991, it was clear that they had stayed true to this notion. Lead single "Lowdown and Dirty," is a guitar-driven rocker that dials up the swagger compared to Foreigner’s previous radio-friendly hits. It was the most successful cut from the LP, rising to No. 4 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart, but the album itself was a commercial miss, not even cracking the top 100 overall. While may have been a massive disappointment for a band with so many multi-platinum records under their belt, three decades of retrospect reveal a unique chapter in Foreigner’s storied career.

Foreigner | “I’ll Fight For You”

Lou Gramm's return in 1993 would end Edwards tenure with the band, but it’s a time neither Edwards nor the band harbour any regrets, as Mick Jones told UCR

"We didn’t really get to go as far as I would have liked to. I think if we would have done another album with Johnny, perhaps who knows [what would have happened]. But it certainly was a great time recording the album and having somebody who really was the genuine article in as much as you know, our kind of music, and perhaps a little more guitar-oriented than things we had done of late."


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