81999 1-E Agent Provocateur
Produced by Alex Sadkin & Mick Jones
Released on November 1984
US CHART POSITION #4 . . . 2x PLATINUM RECORD (5/13/85), 3x PLATINUM (11/6/00) . . . UK CHART POSITION #1
Find it at GEMM
81999 1-E cover
[high resolution photo]

N ot the most provocative album they’ve ever released, but the amalgam of hard rock swagger and immaculate synth pop production is impressive in its own right. As a quartet, Foreigner has moved from their arena rock origins to embrace new technology while churning out crisp, catchy product. Mick Jones seems smitten with synthesizers and less interested in delivering mighty guitar riffs, which means that vocalist Lou Gramm has become lone caretaker of the menacing stance that defines rock & roll. Fortunately, Gramm has grown into a remarkable singer, all but overshadowing the rest of the band on Agent Provocateur. Cowriting most of the material with Jones, Gramm is the prime commodity in this music, sexually and emotionally charged even when the material doesn’t warrant the effort (“Reaction To Action,” “A Love In Vain”). The melodies are unfailingly engaging, though as likely to be contained in a light synthesizer line as a guitar riff, and some of the songs here transcend the medium (radio) they were aimed at. Among them, “I Want To Know What Love Is” stands tall, a brilliant heart play written by Jones that found its voice in Foreigner for lack of a better outlet. Similar in effect if slightly less epic, “That Was Yesterday” is sophisticated and still dynamic, while the opening “Tooth And Nail” comes out swinging with all the swagger of Bon Scott. Some of the album’s momentum dissipates on the second side, though Gramm’s “Two Different Worlds” is as sympathetic a song as one could hope for. Despite sounding at times like Billy Squier, Foreigner has far too much talent to get lumped in with the ‘80s also-rans. Few bands could boast a songwriter as savvy as Mick Jones or a vocalist as talented as Lou Gramm, and their contributions have a timeless quality that make Agent Provocateur a potent product even today.

81999 1-E back cover 81999 1-E lyric sleeve
81999 1-E back cover 81999 1-E lyric sleeve


  1. TOOTH AND NAIL    (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones)    3:54
  2. THAT WAS YESTERDAY    (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm)    3:46
  3. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS    (Mick Jones)    4:58
  4. GROWING UP THE HARD WAY    (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm)    4:18
  5. REACTION TO ACTION    (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm)    3:57
  6. STRANGER IN MY OWN HOUSE    (Mick Jones)    4:54
  7. A LOVE IN VAIN    (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm)    4:12
  8. DOWN ON LOVE    (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm)    4:08
  9. TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS    (Lou Gramm)    4:28
  10. SHE'S TOO TOUGH    (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm)    3:07


LOU GRAMM -- lead vocals, percussion
MICK JONES -- lead guitars, bass, main keyboards & synthesizers and background vocals
RICK WILLS -- bass and background vocals
Wally Badarou -- digital & analog synthesizers
Tom Bailey -- vocals (3)
Brian Eddolls -- additional synthesizers
Larry Fast -- additional synthesizers
Jennifer Holliday -- vocals (3)
Trevor Horn -- special thanks for his participation
Dave LeBolt -- additional synthesizers
Ian Lloyd -- background vocals
Bob Mayo -- Hohner piano, additional synthesizers & background vocals
The New Jersey Mass Choir with Donnie Harper -- vocals (3)
Mark Rivera -- saxophone & background vocals
Jack Waldman -- additional synthesizers
Frank Filipetti -- chief engineer
Howie Lindeman, Larry Alexander, Josh Abbey, Joe Ferla, Jason Corsaro -- additional engineering
Bob Defrin -- art direction and design

return to FOREIGNER discography

US November 1984 Atlantic LP/CD/CS 81999 lyric sleeve, picture label
UK/CAN/GER/PHI November 1984 Atlantic LP/CD/CS 781999 lyric sleeve
JPN 1984 Warner/Pioneer LP P-13060 lyric insert
KOR 1984 Atlantic LP OLW-342 lyric insert
MEX   Atlantic LP LWA 6334  
BRA 1985 Atlantic LP 6407 093  
YUG 1985 Suzy LP ATL819991E inner sleeve
US September 1995 Atlantic CD 82796 digital remaster
EUR September 1995 WEA CD 82796 digital remaster


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