Foreigner's leader from the beginning has been British guitarist Mick Jones who soon assembled a group consisting of  a mixture of Brits and New Yorkers and of course Lou Gramm.  Jones developed a songwriting chemistry with Gramm (one of the first songs they wrote together was "Cold As Ice"), resulting in the newly formed band taking the name Foreigner and signing a recording contract with Atlantic Records. Their self-titled debut was issued in 1977 and became a hit on the strength of the hit singles "Feels Like the First Time," "Long, Long Way From Home," and the aforementioned "Cold As Ice," as the album would eventually go platinum five times over.

Lou Gramm was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor on the eve of the band's planned Japanese tour in 1997, and the surgery that followed damaged his pituitary gland. After a year of rehabilitation and radiation treatment, the singer made a full recovery and resumed touring in 1999. He split with Foreigner once again in 2003, however, preferring to tour in support of his solo material instead.