Former FOREIGNER singer Lou Gramm claims that he was unfairly "aced out" of songwriting credits for the band's smash hit song "I Want To Know What Love Is". The power ballad, which is credited solely to FOREIGNER's founding guitarist Mick Jones was, released in November 1984 as the lead single from the group's fifth album, "Agent Provocateur".
Gramm discussed his supposed lack of contribution to the track during a brand new interview with "The Jeremy White Podcast". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "As much as I worked my tail off on 'I Want To Know What Love Is', and I think I had a strong presence on that album and was contributing ideas to the arrangement too, I got zero credit on that song. The song was No. 1 around the world, and the reality is [Mick] made a hundred percent of the song royalties. I was aced out of that completely."
Gramm went on to say that "Mick was very fair" with regard to splitting songwriting credits in the early years of FOREIGNER. "No matter who contributed what, between him and I, it was 50-50 or 60-40, but it was always 50-50 or close to 50-50," he said. "When 'Waiting For A Girl [Like You]' came out [in 1981], it was 75-25. And then when 'I Want To Know What Love Is' came out, he offered me 95-5, and I said, 'I don't want five.' So he kept a hundred."
"After 'I Want To Know What Love Is', then he came out with 'I Don't Want To Live Without You' [on 1987's 'Inside Information' album]," he continued. "That was completely done by him. I didn't wanna even partake in that. Then he started writing songs completely and showing them to me; he just wanted me to sing 'em. No input on lyrics or melody or anything — he came to me with complete songs that he had written and just wanted me to sing 'em."
Asked by White if Jones's "ego" was to blame for the shift in the songwriting approach, Gramm said: "You can call it that… I always wanted it [to be a] collaborative [effort], but after a certain point, he got caught up with what he was doing and didn't want input."
Gramm was the voice on FOREIGNER's biggest hits, including "Feels Like The First Time" and "Cold As Ice" from the band's eponymous debut in 1977, and later songs like "Hot Blooded" and "I Want to Know What Love Is".
The 71-year-old Gramm left FOREIGNER for good in 2002 and has battled health issues in recent years, including the removal of a non-cancerous tumor. He told the Democrat & Chronicle in 2018 that he was planning to retire, but still reunited with FOREIGNER for several shows that year to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary.
FOREIGNER replaced Gramm with Kelly Hansen in 2005. Jones, the only remaining original member of FOREIGNER, suffered from some health issues beginning in 2011, eventually resulting in heart surgery in 2012.
Gramm and Jones's June 2013 performance of "I Want To Know What Love Is" and "Juke Box Hero" at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City marked the first time the pair performed together in a decade after Gramm left FOREIGNER for a second time. Hansen has fronted the group for the past 16 years.