FOREIGNER's Manager: 'ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME Is Fast Becoming A More Relevant, Inclusive And Vibrant Place'

February 12, 2024

This past Saturday (February 10),it was announced that FOREIGNER is among the nominees for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's Class Of 2024.

To be eligible for this year's ballot, each nominee's first single or album had to have been released in 1999 or earlier.

Eligible since 2002, FOREIGNER has had a huge number of rock hits, including "Cold As Ice", "Double Vision", "Hot Blooded", "I Want To Know What Love Is", "Juke Box Hero" and "Urgent", and has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, with no wins.

According to the Hall Of Fame, the FOREIGNER members that would get inducted include only the classic-era musicians Mick Jones, Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliott, Ed Gagliardi, Al Greenwood, Ian McDonald and Rick Wills.

In a statement, Jones, founding member, songwriter and lead guitarist of FOREIGNER, said: "I deeply appreciate the recognition from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame committee. It is wonderful that FOREIGNER has maintained its presence all these years and brought the music to our fans. Getting this news is an incredible endorsement of what we have achieved over time. I know I speak for my fellow FOREIGNER nominees, Lou, Rick, Al, Dennis and the families of Ed Gagliardi and Ian McDonald."

FOREIGNER manager and former Atlantic Records executive vice president Phil Carson added: "Under the overall leadership of John Sykes, and Rick Krim's chairmanship of the nominating committee, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is fast becoming a more relevant, inclusive and vibrant place. I am thrilled that the committee has selected FOREIGNER as a nominee for the 2024 induction, and I join Mick Jones and the band in expressing our deepest gratitude for this recognition of FOREIGNER's part in the rock and roll universe."

Longtime bassist Rick Wills (1979-1993) told Billboard: "We're more than thrilled; it's been over 20 years since we've been waiting for this day. I suppose we were frustrated, to be perfectly honest, but we tried to hide it as best we could because we didn't want to appear like we were sad people. [Laughs] I mean, what else could you do but what we've done already with our music and what people have appreciated and enjoyed? We didn't understand why we didn't get that recognition."

In an October 2023 interview with "Good Day Rochester", the morning news show which airs on the Rochester, New York television station 13 WHAM, Gramm addressed the fact that FOREIGNER is not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and had not even been on the ballot for consideration yet. He said: "Boy, I tell this story a lot… Mick Jones and the director of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were very close friends. Their families were close, they used to run together and have dinner with the families and see each other socially a lot. They were good friends. When we didn't get inducted with our peers, and most of the bands in the area that we were successful in had all gotten into the Hall Of Fame, Mick and our manager went to see… The guy who is the head of the Hall Of Fame is also the owner of Rolling Stone magazine; I can't remember his name offhand. So they went to see — they had an appointment, and they went to see him and asked him if there was something we had done or said or something that insulted him. They couldn't understand why we weren't brought up for induction. And it started to get heated, apparently. I was not there, but this is what I heard. And it got real heated. And when our manager and Mick got up to leave, [the head of the Rock Hall] said, 'It'll be a cold day in hell before FOREIGNER gets into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.' And that was about 25, 30 years ago now."

Two months earlier, current FOREIGNER singer Kelly Hansen told Houston Press about the band's exclusion from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: "As an entity, I find it unusual that a group of people can have an arbitrary standard from which they decide who is in this substantial sounding-titled Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. They cite as one of their criteria as 'influence.' Well, how many people have picked up a guitar and tried to learn 'Cold As Ice' or 'Hot Blooded'? Or sing 'I Want To Know What Love Is' in a karaoke bar? This band has sold 80 million-plus records. And that's real records, not streams or downloads. That is the definition of influence."

In August 2022, Gramm was asked in an interview with Sleeve Saturday why he thinks the band has yet to get the Rock Hall nod. Gramm said: "I think it's less about whether we're qualified and I think it might be more personal now. I know that at some point when a lot of our compatriots were being nominated and accepted into it, the bands and the artists that came up when we came up that were inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame and we were left out, I believe that our manager at that time and Mick went to see the head of the Rock Hall Of Fame and had a discussion with him which led to some heated words. And as that discussion ended — I don't know who; it might have been Jann Wenner from Rolling Stone magazine, who actually was a very good friend of Mick's, I think he told Mick and our manager that it'll be a cold day in hell before FOREIGNER gets in the Rock Hall Of Fame. That's the way it ended up. And sure enough, I bet you 20 years has gone by since that."

Six years ago, Jones was asked by Tigman of the Q103 radio station in Albany if it means anything to him to get inducted into the Rock Hall. Jones responded: "Well, let's say it's not something I wrestle with or something that affects my life. Of course, it would be nice, but sometimes you wonder if it's a political thing more than a musical [thing] or [anything to do with] achievement. Because as far as achievements, we've certainly achieved a tremendous amount with the band. And we'll see. I guess someday. Who knows?"

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