Waiting for a Girl Like You

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"Waiting for a Girl Like You"
Single cover
Single by Foreigner
from the album 4
B-side"I'm Gonna Win"
ReleasedOctober 2, 1981 (U.S.)
  • December 4, 1981 (UK) [1]
GenreSoft rock[2]
Length4:35 (single)
4:49 (album)
Songwriter(s)Mick Jones, Lou Gramm
Producer(s)Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Mick Jones
Foreigner singles chronology
"Waiting for a Girl Like You"
"Juke Box Hero"
Music video
"Waiting for a Girl Like You" on YouTube

"Waiting for a Girl Like You" is a 1981 power ballad[2] by the British-American rock band Foreigner released as the second single from the album 4 (1981) and was co-written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones. The opening motif was written by Ian McDonald[3] and the distinctive synthesizer theme was performed by the then-little-known Thomas Dolby.


Billboard said that "The melodic arrangement enhances the lyrics while the tasty orchestration and commanding vocal maximizes the love ballad's effectiveness."[4] Record World called it a "dreamy ballad" and said that "a great title hook, enchanting vocals & keyboards make a perfect radio record."[5]

It has become one of the band's most successful songs worldwide, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 1 on Billboard's Rock Tracks chart, and number 1 on the Radio & Records (R&R) Top 40/CHR chart.[6][7][8] On both the Billboard and R&R Adult Contemporary chart, the song reached number 5.[9][10] The song peaked at number 8 on the UK Singles Chart.[11]

"Waiting for a Girl Like You" achieved a chart distinction by spending its record-setting 10 weeks in the number 2 position of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, without ever reaching the top. It debuted on the Hot 100 chart dated October 10, 1981. It reached the number 2 position in the week of November 28, where it was held off the number 1 spot by Olivia Newton-John's single "Physical" for nine consecutive weeks, and then by Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" for a tenth week on January 30, 1982.[12] Because of its chart longevity, it ended up being the number 19 song on the Top 100 singles of 1982. The song was the band's biggest hit until "I Want to Know What Love Is" hit number 1 in 1985. In Canada, the song was number 2 for 2 weeks, kept out of number 1 by The Friends of Mr Cairo on its 5 week run at number 1.

The song lists at number 80 on Billboard's "Greatest Songs of All Time".[13] Classic Rock History critic Brian Kachejian rated it as Foreigner's 7th best song, particularly praising the "great keyboard line played at the song’s intro and in between verses."[14]


Jones said of writing the song that:

It just came out. I had no idea what it meant, but it got to the point where I couldn't even be in the studio when we were recording it sometimes. It left such a deep impression on me. It's the kind of song that the pen does the writing, and you don't even know where it came from. But I feel that it's stuff that's floating around at times, and you have to grasp it. It's kind of flying around in the air, and you just have to be open enough to let that flow through you.[15]

In his autobiography, Gramm tells of a beautiful, mysterious woman who appeared in the control room when he was recording his vocal and gave him the inspiration to deliver the stirring take that was better than he has ever sung the song. He writes that this ephemeral beauty vanished, and he has never discerned her identity.[16]

The introduction was created by Dolby using a Minimoog synthesizer. Dolby remembers Lange leaving him to his own devices in the studio one night, "like a kid locked in a toy shop" to develop the intro to the song with six tracks of the multitrack available.[17] As a result, he made the "Eno-esque" ambient drones. These were sustained single notes in a minor scale, each recorded on a single track of a (separate) 2" multitrack tape; Dolby "played" the faders on the mixing console at Electric Lady Studios (by fading in and out the sustained notes) like a mellotron and bounced down the result onto two tracks.[18] Drummer Dennis Elliott likened the intro to "massage music" but Jones liked it and it stuck.



Additional personnel



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[34]
Platinum 1,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[34]
Gold 500,000

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Foreigner singles".
  2. ^ a b "Gig review: Journey/Foreigner/Styx". The Scotsman. June 10, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  3. ^ "Interview with Ian McDonald". Dmme.net. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  4. ^ "Top Single Picks". Billboard. October 10, 1981. p. 93. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  5. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. October 10, 1981. p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  6. ^ "Foreigner Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "Foreigner Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 234.
  9. ^ "Foreigner Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  10. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of No. 1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 333.
  11. ^ a b "Foreigner singles". The Official Chart Company. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  12. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of No. 1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 601.
  13. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (80-71)". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 1, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  14. ^ Kachejian, Brian. "Top 10 Foreigner Songs". Classic Rock History. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  15. ^ DeRiso, Nick (October 1, 2021). "How Foreigner Changed Gears With 'Waiting for a Girl Like You'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  16. ^ "Waiting for a Girl Like You". Songfacts.com. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  17. ^ "Talking with Thomas Dolby: 2012 Moog Innovation Award Winner". June 3, 2013. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013.
  18. ^ Pejrolo, Andrea; Metcalfe, Scott B. (January 5, 2017). Creating Sounds from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers. ISBN 978-0-19-062802-4 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. December 12, 1981. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. November 26, 1981. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Waiting for a Girl Like You". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  23. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 7, 1982". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  24. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  25. ^ "Foreigner Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Foreigner Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Foreigner Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1981". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  29. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1982". Kent Music Report. January 3, 1983. Retrieved January 22, 2023 – via Imgur.
  30. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – 1982". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  31. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1982/Top 100 Songs of 1982". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  32. ^ "Hot 100 turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  33. ^ "British single certifications – Foreigner – Waiting for a Girl Like You". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  34. ^ a b "American single certifications – Foreigner – Waiting for a Girl Like You". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 4, 2021.