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Original Foreigner Bassist Ed Gagliardi Dies at 62

Foreigner Ed Gagliardi
Hulton Archive, Getty Images (Gagliardi second from left)

Ed Gagliardi, the original bassist for Foreigner, has reportedly passed away at the age of 62.

The news comes courtesy of Gagliardi’s former bandmate Lou Gramm, who posted a note to his Facebook fan club page on May 11 that reads, “It is a heavy heart that I let fans know that Foreigner’s original bassist Ed Gagliardi passed away last evening. I had spoken to Ed a few weeks ago & we were making plans to meet at my show in Orlando Florida on July 31. Rest in Peace Ed .. Always your Band mate, Lou”

Gagliardi rounded out Foreigner’s founding lineup, joining Gramm, guitarist Mick Jones, keyboard player Al Greenwood, drummer Dennis Elliott, and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald. In Gramm’s recently published memoir, ‘Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ he described Gagliardi as “a young guy from Long Island” and described the ways in which the bassist’s youthful enthusiasm tended to put him at odds with Jones.

Saying Gagliardi could be “obstinate at times, playing the song the way he wanted rather than the way it was drawn up,” Gramm wrote, “He and Mick had some memorable arguments.” In fact, while Gagliardi’s three-year tenure included Foreigner’s hit self-titled debut and the even more successful ‘Double Vision‘ in 1978, by ’79 he found himself permanently on the outs. “It took awhile for Ed to accept his role and play the bass the way we needed it to be played,” explained Gramm in his book. “He wasn’t a bad guy, he just was a little headstrong and had his own ideas that weren’t always compatible with what we were trying to accomplish…Ed took the news really hard; he actually fainted after being told.”

Gagliardi eventually recovered, founding the band Spys with his fellow former Foreigner member Greenwood. Joined by guitarist John DiGaudio, drummer Billy Milne, and singer John Blanco, the band released a pair of albums (1982′s ‘Spys’ and 1983′s ‘Behind Enemy Lines’) before disbanding. Although Spys’ dissolution seems to have led to Gagliardi’s retirement as a recording artist, he remains well-remembered by the Foreigner faithful, some of whom have gathered at the Ed Gagliardi Fan Group on Facebook.

Gagliardi’s daughter Nicole informed fans of his passing on May 11, writing, “Now that information has circulated, I would like to prevent misinformation and be the one to let everyone know that my father, Ed Gagliardi, passed away tonight at 7:40, after 8 years of battling cancer. There are no words. We appreciate your prayers and well wishes. We are shocked and heartbroken, thank you for your loyal fandom of an amazing man. I love you Daddy.”

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2014

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