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 1981 (US)
  • 4 December 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. The distinctive synthesizer theme was performed by the then-little-known Thomas Dolby.

It was the second single released from the album 4 (1981) and was co-written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones. The opening motif was written by Ian McDonald.[3] 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.[4][5][6] On both the Billboard and R&R Adult Contemporary chart, the song reached number 5.[7][8] The song peaked at number 8 on the UK Singles Chart.[9]

"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.[10] 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.

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.[11]

In his autobiography, Lou 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] Drummer Dennis Elliott likened the intro to "massage music" but Mick Jones liked it and it stuck.

The song lists at number 100 on "Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time".[15]



Additional personnel[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[30]
Platinum 1,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[30]
Gold 500,000double-dagger

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Foreigner singles".
  2. ^ a b "Gig review: Journey/Foreigner/Styx". The Scotsman. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Interview with Ian McDonald". Dmme.net. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Foreigner Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  5. ^ "Foreigner Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 234.
  7. ^ "Foreigner Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  8. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of No. 1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 333.
  9. ^ a b "Foreigner singles". The Official Chart Company. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  10. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of No. 1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 601.
  11. ^ DeRiso, Nick (October 1, 2021). "How Foreigner Changed Gears With 'Waiting for a Girl Like You'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2022-01-08.
  12. ^ "Waiting for a Girl Like You". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Talking with Thomas Dolby: 2012 Moog Innovation Award Winner". June 3, 2013. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013.
  14. ^ Creating Sounds from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers on Google books
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2018-08-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1981-12-12. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  18. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1981-11-26. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Waiting for a Girl Like You". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  20. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 7, 1982". Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  21. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Foreigner Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Foreigner Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Foreigner Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1981". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – 1982". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  27. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1982/Top 100 Songs of 1982". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  28. ^ "Hot 100 turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  29. ^ "British single certifications – Foreigner – Waiting for a Girl Like You". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  30. ^ a b "American single certifications – Foreigner – Waiting for a Girl Like You". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 4, 2021.