LOU GRAMM On FOREIGNER's ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME Induction: 'I Knew We Had The Credentials To Be Part Of' It

June 23, 2024

In a new interview with Jim Monaghan of the WDHA radio station, original FOREIGNER singer Lou Gramm was asked why it has taken so long for him and his bandmates to finally get inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I knew we had the credentials to be part of the Hall, and I felt that our standing with our singles and our albums… I think we had 19 Top 20 singles; I think it was one or two less than THE BEATLES, and our sales were, were always exemplary. We had everything that the Hall required to get in, and for over 20 years, we weren't even nominated. Now, what, what I do know, and I'm not going to belabor this, is that Jann Wenner was the head honcho at the Hall Of Fame too. And he and Mick [Jones, FOREIGNER guitarist and main songwriter] were very good friends. They started their friendship working out together, and having coffee afterwards, and talking music. And then they went out to dinner and Broadway shows with their wives. They were, I would call them good friends. But increasingly Mick and FOREIGNER's management couldn't understand why other bands that came out around the same time as us, also very good bands, but lacking the exemplary credentials that we had were not only nominated, but they were in already, and we hadn't even been nominated. And so Mick and our manager went to see Jann at his office at the Hall Of Fame and just wanted some answers as to why things are the way they are. And I was told that he either wasn't willing to elaborate on it or just just more or less pretended that's the way things are. So Mick and FOREIGNER's manager kind of abruptly got off the chairs and walk out of the room without saying anything. Needless to say, that was the end of the friendship between Mick and Jann. And another [few] years went by. However, I think FOREIGNER's manager went to someone higher up than Jann even on the board of directors and kind of [inquired about it], and they looked into it very deeply and found that we weren't the only band that that had happened to, that periodically he just had a personal thing against certain artists and made sure that they would not get into the Hall. [Jann has since] been relieved of his services [when it comes to the Rock Hall]. And that was last year. Now this year, we're nominated and set to be inducted."

This past April, it was revealed that FOREIGNER is among the 2024 inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

The induction ceremony will be held on October 19 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. It will air live on Disney+. An edited version will run on ABC at a later date, and will be available on Hulu the day after.

In an interview with News 8 WROC, Gramm stated about learning that he will be one of Rock Hall class of 2024 inductees: "It was a relief, because we have been eligible for a good long time. And we were wondering if we'd ever be in the Rock Hall Of Fame. We've aspired to be part of it, and it's very satisfying now that we're voted in. And I don't think I don't think we could be any happier."

Shortly after FOREIGNER's Rock Hall induction was first announced, Jones told Billboard that he will have no problems reuniting at the induction ceremony with Gramm, with whom he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame with in 2013.

"On a personal level, I have no hard feelings toward Lou," Jones said. "We did perform together at the 40th-anniversary concert. It has been so many years now since Lou left FOREIGNER; I like to think that those ill feelings are in the past. There is power in letting go of hard feelings and getting on with your life. Why carry the burden of hard feelings? It serves nothing in the long run.

When FOREIGNER was first nominated for the Rock Hall in February, Gramm released a video message expressing his gratitude. In the one-minute clip, which was posted to Lou's social media, the 74-year-old singer said: "I'd like to thank the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for the honor of nomination. And I'd like to acknowledge Mick Jones for his courage as he faces Parkinson's. I'd like to thank my friends in the music and the acting industry for their support, especially over the last two or three weeks in helping us to receive the nomination. Now I've seen a lot of the videos and I've definitely been feeling the buzz. It's really exciting and it means a lot. It means a lot to me and all the guys in the band. Now [multi-instrumentalist] Ian McDonald and [bassist] Ed Gagliardi were vital contributing members of the early FOREIGNER, and I know they're somewhere in the hereafter fist pumping and cheering for this nomination."

Earlier that same month, Jones's stepson, Oscar-nominated producer/songwriter Mark Ronson enlisted Dave Grohl, Jack Black, Slash, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS drummer Chad Smith and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE frontman Josh Homme (along with Ronson himself) to create a video campaigning for FOREIGNER's Rock Hall bid.

"Yes, Mick is my stepdad and I love him more than anything," Ronson wrote in a message accompanying the video. "But I'm also a MEGA fan just like Dave, Jack, Slash, Chad and Josh… Enjoy this video and VOTE BABY VOTE!"

In the clip, Homme said: "You want to know what love is? Love is putting FOREIGNER in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame." Smith added: "I can't believe they’re not in already — oh my God."

"I've loved FOREIGNER since I got their debut record," Grohl said. "There's one drum riff that I have used in more than a few songs."

Black sang parts of FOREIGNER's "I Want To Know What Love Is" before pleading, "Hey, Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, open the door! FOREIGNER's waiting outside. Let 'em in."

In his Instagram message, Ronson shared a brief history of FOREIGNER's influence, writing: "Everything that made me want to be a record producer came from being in the studio watching FOREIGNER make records. I'm still completely in awe of the sound of those first five albums. Guitars with swagger and bite. Heavy drums that groove like a mutha with the bass. Wide layers of synths. And then there’s that voice. And those songs. It's really crazy. It's also kind of crazy that this is the first time they've ever been on the ballot for the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame — after 20 years of eligibility."

He added: "Fun Facts: FOREIGNER are the most played band on classic rock radio to not be in the hall of fame. They've been sung by our fave characters from the Simpsons, The Office, I, Tonya, Stranger Things and Wet Hot American Summer. They've been covered by Diana Ross and Mariah Carey (what the rock band can boast that??). They were sampled and turned into HOT FIRE by M.O.P. (remember that Cold As Ice joint?) and Tone-Loc who used them to concoct some Funky Cold Medina."

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 will get inducted include only the classic-era musicians Jones, Gramm, Dennis Elliott, Gagliardi, Al Greenwood, McDonald and Rick Wills. McDonald and Gagliardi died in 2022 and 2014, respectively.

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