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Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009

Foreigner

Tonight @ Wisconsin State Fair Main Stage, 8 p.m.

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It took a mix of Brits and Americans to come up with the band name Foreigner. With over 50 million albums sold worldwide, the band’s hits are embedded in the sounds of the ’80s with their catchy guitar hooks and infectious melodies of hits like “Hot Blooded,” “Double Vision,” “Cold As Ice” among many others.

Formed in 1976 by veteran musicians, the band was already in good company with its core of Mick Jones (Spooky Tooth), Ian McDonald (King Crimson) and Lou Gramm (Black Sheep) whose powerhouse vocals steadied the course for mapping out some of the most defining rock music of the ’80s.

The hits kept coming as front man Jones would tweak the sound from album to album, roughing it up with “Dirty White Boy” to using an extended sax solo (courtesy of jazz great Junior Walker) on the group’s biggest hit, “Urgent.” Even ballads like “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and the gospel-inspired “I Want to Know What Love Is” found their way to the top of the charts.

Over its 33-year history, Foreigner has seen numerous band personnel changes. Even Gramm took a two-year hiatus at the start of the ‘90s to pursue a solo career before rejoining the band. He left the band again in 2003, but founder Jones remains.

If it’s the hits of the ‘80s you’re looking for at the State Fair, Foreigner is your best shot.