LOU GRAMM Says FOREIGNER's Exclusion From ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME Is Based On 'A Personal Vendetta': 'It's Very Juvenile'
August 22, 2023
In a new interview with The Rock Shop With Ralph, original FOREIGNER singer Lou Gramm addressed the fact that the band is not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and has not even been on the ballot for consideration yet. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's not anything to do with our music or the amount of hits or notoriety or anything like that. It's a personal thing that we're not in there. It's a personal vendetta between the gentleman who owns Rolling Stone [magazine] and Mick [Jones, FOREIGNER guitarist]."
He continued: "It's very juvenile, the whole thing, and I don't think it's gonna get any better. I think it's gonna stay that way. I think we're being made an example of."
Asked if he feels FOREIGNER should be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Gramm said: "Of course I do. The original FOREIGNER [lineup]. I put an exclamation point at the end of that [and it's not something] we need to talk about."
Earlier this month, 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."
Artists are eligible for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single. Criteria for inclusion includes "the influence and significance of the artist's contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll."
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.
This past April, FOREIGNER's manager Phil Carson addressed the group's absence from the Rock Hall one day after sharing an April Fools' Day post in which he claimed "the entire board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame met especially to nominate FOREIGNER." In a follow-up social media post, Phil wrote: "Thank you all for your reactions to yesterday's spoof. While it was posted with a sense of humour, it was not without a touch of irony.
"FOREIGNER should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Mick Jones groundbreaking song writing and production skills coupled with music sales and performances that eclipse most of their contemporaries should be enough to warrant FOREIGNER's nomination and induction. Mick founded FOREIGNER in 1977 and went on to conquer the world with as many Billboard top ten hits as FLEETWOOD MAC, just one less than THE EAGLES, and more than JOURNEY and most of the heritage band Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame alumni. He created the current version of FOREIGNER in 2005 and chose the amazing Kelly Hansen as the lead singer to breath new life into the songs he wrote and co-wrote. That band has performed around 100 shows all over the world each year since then and continues to play to sell out business as they continue the journey on their two year farewell tour.
"Please try to see them before they are done, but most of all, help us put some pressure on the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame board to do the right thing while their is still time for them to deliver a stellar performance at their well deserved induction.
"Thank you for listening."
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."
Five 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?"
Gramm was the voice on FOREIGNER's biggest hits, including "Feels Like The First Time" and "Cold As Ice" from the band's eponymous debut in 1977, and later songs like "Hot Blooded" and "I Want to Know What Love Is".
The 73-year-old Gramm left FOREIGNER for good in 2002 and has battled health issues in recent years, including the removal of a non-cancerous tumor. He told the Democrat & Chronicle in 2018 that he was planning to retire, but still reunited with FOREIGNER for several shows that year to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary.
FOREIGNER replaced Gramm with Hansen in 2005. Jones, the only remaining original member of FOREIGNER, suffered from some health issues beginning in 2011, eventually resulting in heart surgery in 2012.
Gramm and Jones's June 2013 performance of "I Want To Know What Love Is" and "Juke Box Hero" at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City marked the first time the pair performed together in a decade after Gramm left FOREIGNER for a second time. Hansen has fronted the group for the past 18 years.
FOREIGNER's last album, "Can't Slow Down", was the only full-length collection of new songs to have been released by the band since Hansen took over vocals. The album entered the Billboard Top 30, driven by the radio singles "In Pieces" and "When It Comes To Love". The band also has released a series of live albums and compilations, including 2016's "In Concert: Unplugged" and 2017's "40".
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