June 1981: Foreigner Releases 'Urgent"

American-based rock band Foreigner performs onstage at the Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, November 8, 1981. Pictured are, from left, Dennis Elliot, on drums, Mick Jones, on guitar, vocalist Lou Gramm, and Rick Wills, on bass guitar. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Photo Credit
(Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

After establishing themselves as a rock band to be reckoned with, Foreigner was ready to kick things up a notch. They called in one of the heaviest of heavyweights, producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, to turbocharge the group's already combustible sound.

RELATED: October 1979: Foreigner Play "Head Games" 

The album they crafted was the chart-topping blockbuster album, 4. The first single from the studio effort, "Urgent," was released on June 22, 1981. The song arrived about a week before the full-length hit record stores, and it was an immediate hit. The track was particularly popular on American rock radio, with FM stations across the country throwing "Urgent" into heavy rotation.

Helping power the song was a blistering sax solo from Motown legend, Junior Walker, who would go on to tour with Foreigner for years. Singer Lou Gramm told Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols the great story of how they found Walker performing in New York City, and personally asked him to play on the track. Gramm also shared the tale of Walker joining the band to perform the tune in Los Angeles. Watch it below.

"Urgent" rocketed up the charts, peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 for the week of September 4, 1981. The song stayed at the #4 position for the entire month.

 

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