Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is

I Want To Know What Love Is – Foreigner | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1); 1985

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Despite over 20 million albums sold and ten Top 20 hits, after seven hit making years, Foreigner had yet to score a #1 single. Not that they hadn’t come close. In 1980, Waiting For A Girl Like You spent ten frustrating, record-breaking weeks at #2. Now, four long years later, the band of foreigners had a new album and single. In contrast to the band’s trademark blazing rock tracks I Want To Know What Love Is was a Waiting-like ballad. Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins manned the keyboards, Jennifer Holliday of Broadway’s Dream Girls laid down a backing vocal, and the New Jersey Mass Choir contributed an uplifting wall of gospel as backdrop. Even though singer Lou Gramm and bassist Rick Wills doubted the wisdom of releasing another ballad, guitarist and composer of Love Mick Jones was convinced it would make a great Christmas time release. Jones was right. Love became Foreigner’s first – and only – #1 record.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Mick Jones
  • Alex Sadkin

Lyrics Written by:

  • Mick Jones