Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, February 2nd

On this day in 1985: Foreigner started a two week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “I Want To Know What Love Is.”

It was released in November 1984 as the lead single from their fifth album, ‘Agent Provocateur’. The song hit #1 in both the United Kingdom and the United States and is the group’s biggest hit to date. It remains one of the band’s best-known songs and most enduring radio hits.

Written and composed by Mick Jones, with an uncredited portion (somewhere between 5% according to Jones and 40% according to Gramm) by Lou Gramm, and produced by Jones and Alex Sadkin, “I Want to Know What Love Is” was the first single released from Foreigner’s album ‘Agent Provocateur’ (1984). The song features backing vocals from the New Jersey Mass Choir affiliated with the Gospel Music Workshop of America, ‘Dreamgirls’ star Jennifer Holliday, and featured keyboard work by Thompson Twins front man Tom Bailey. The choir also appears in the song’s music video.

“I Want to Know What Love Is” reached #1 on the U.K. singles chart on January 15, 1985, displacing Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, staying there for three weeks, and in the U.S. it knocked Madonna’s long-running “Like A Virgin” out of the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 2, 1985. It was Foreigner’s first and only pop chart topper in either country, although the band had four #1 Mainstream Rock hits and a #1 Adult Contemporary radio hit in the U.S. This was the band’s third of four #1 singles on the Mainstream Rock chart. The song spent five weeks at #1 in Australia and also hit the top of the charts in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden, peaking at #2 in Switzerland and South Africa.

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1985:

1 2 I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS Foreigner (Atlantic)-9 (1 Week at #1)
2 4 EASY LOVER –•– Philip Bailey & Phil Collins (Columbia)-11 (2)
3 5 CARELESS WHISPER –Wham! Featuring George Michael (Columbia)-7 (3)
4 3 YOU’RE THE INSPIRATION Chicago (Full Moon / Warner Brothers)-12 (3)
5 9 LOVERBOY –•– Billy Ocean (Jive)-10 (5)
6 8 THE BOYS OF SUMMER –•– Don Henley (Geffen)-13 (6)
7 1 LIKE A VIRGIN –•– Madonna (Sire)-12 (1)
8 10 I WOULD DIE 4 U –•– Prince & The Revolution (Warner Brothers)-8 (8)
9 12 METHOD OF MODERN LOVE –•– Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA)-8 (9)
10 13 NEUTRON DANCE –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-11 (10)

11 6 ALL I NEED –•– Jack Wagner (Qwest)-16 (2)
12 7 RUN TO YOU –•– Bryan Adams (A&M)-14 (6)
13 29 THE HEAT IS ON –•– Glenn Frey (MCA)-9 (13)
14 21 SOLID –•– Ashford & Simpson (Capitol)-13 (14)
15 22 CALL TO THE HEART –•– Giuffria (MCA / Camel)-13 (15)
16 14 JAMIE –•– Ray Parker, Jr. (Arista)-12 (14)
17 20 LOVE LIGHT IN FLIGHT –•– Stevie Wonder (Motown)-10 (17)
18 23 OPERATOR –•– Midnight Star (Solar)-10 (18)
19 31 SUGAR WALLS –•– Sheena Easton (EMI-America)-7 (19)
20 25 FOOLISH HEART –•– Steve Perry (Columbia)-11 (20)


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