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Foreigner’s Mick Jones on the Classic Rock Staple That Changed His Life, Collaborating With Ozzy Osbourne

Bill Bernstein

“My prior band Spooky Tooth had broken up. I moved to New York City and was pretty much floundering. I was thinking about moving back to England, but then I wrote ‘Feels Like the First Time’ and it changed everything. It may sound corny, but it did feel like the first time for me,” founding Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones tells Noisecreep about the band’s 1977 debut single.

Reaching the #4 slot on the Billboard Hot 100, the song launched Foreigner in the States and helped paved the way to the group’s reign as kings of the arena rock circuit.

Noisecreep is chatting with Jones about the recent announcement that he would be inducted into the 2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame along with former Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm, who co-wrote many of the songs with him.

“It really feels like a validation from my peers, and it’s coming from a great institution with incredible writers that I look up to. I’m in awe, really,” Jones says of the honor. Besides “Feels Like the First Time,” songs like “Urgent,” “Head Games,” “Say You Will,” “Dirty White Boy,” and the 1984 number one hit “I Want To Know What Love Is,” are also part of his distinguished discography.

Watch ‘Feels Like the First Time (Live)’ Video

Outside his time guiding Foreigner through a celebrated career where they’ve sold over 75 million albums, Jones is also a producer and songwriting collaborator who has worked with the likes of Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Bad Company, Billy Joel and The Cult. “I think one of my biggest strengths is knowing how to work really well with vocalists. It’s my specialty,” opines Jones.

One singer Jones has worked with that particularly gets Noisecreep’s attention is none other than Ozzy Osbourne, co-writing his 2002 “Dreamer” single. We ask him what writing with the Prince of Darkness is like. “I’ve known Ozzy for a long time, before I was even in Foreigner, I toured with him when he was in Black Sabbath and I was in Spooky Tooth. I can’t truly describe how he really is, but he’s a lunatic, and a wonderful, funny guy, who is truly happy to be alive. Ozzy’s intense, but I love being around him. He’s managed to reinvent himself so many times. He’s such an important part of rock music. Above all, he’s a natural. We both were heavily influenced by the Beatles and ‘Dreamer’ definitely has that kind of feel to it. I was really happy with the way that turned out.”

Watch ‘Dreamer’ Video

Alongside Jones and Lou Gramm this year’s Songwriting Hall of Fame inductees will be Holly Knight (“Love Is a Battlefield,” “The Warrior”), JD Souther (“Best of My Love,” “Heartache Tonight”), Tony Hatch (“Sugar and Spice”) and Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler & Joe Perry.

The ceremony will be held June 13 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City and will feature a reunion performance of Jones and Lou Gramm. It will be their first live appearance together since the singer parted ways with Foreigner in 2003.

Head over to Foreigner’s official site for all of the band’s upcoming tour dates.

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