Foreigner Makes Case For Rock Hall Induction

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Foreigner’s lineup at a 2017 reunion concert. Mick Jones is at center (in white). Lou Gramm is next to him on the left

In 2023, Foreigner made a public plea to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Like many of their peers from the 1970s who delivered radio-friendly pop tunes and consistently played to sold-out arenas, Foreigner has been eligible for induction into the institution located in Cleveland, Ohio, for decades. But unlike Journey, Cheap Trick, Chicago, ELO, Yes, Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues, and several others, most of which—like Foreigner—were never critical favorites, they were finally selected by the Rock Hall’s Foundation that decides such things. Foreigner continues to be overlooked; until the news of their nomination for the Class of 2024 on Feb. 10, the band had never even been on the ballot.

The band was formed in 1976 with a combination of British musicians—Jones, Ian McDonald and Dennis Elliott—and Americans Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi. With ten multi-platinum albums, Foreigner’s album sales now exceeding 80 million thanks to such classic rock favorites as “I Want To Know What Love Is,” “Cold As Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” “Juke Box Hero,” “Urgent,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Head Games,” and “Long, Long Way From Home.”

On April 1, 2023, the band made a post on its Facebook page. “In an unprecedented move,” it began, “the entire board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame met especially to nominate Foreigner. The board recognized that Mick Jones’ and Foreigner’s major contribution to music over the years warranted a very special place in the history of the Hall Of Fame. Said manager Phil Carson, ‘Needless to say, we are all delighted to learn of this unique privilege. I believe that the entire board realized that Foreigner had as many hits as Fleetwood Mac, just one less than the Eagles, and more than Journey and many other Hall Of Fame alumni. We are greatly looking forward to the induction ceremony’.”

One day later, on April 2, Carson, their longtime manager, owned up to the April Fools Day prank. But instead of laughing it off, he went one further. “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 songwriting 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.”

When the actual 2024 nomination was revealed, the band doubled down. In a statement, Jones, wrote, “I deeply appreciate the recognition from the Rock & 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 today 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.”

Carson added, “Under the overall leadership of John Sykes, and Rick Krim’s chairmanship of the nominating committee, the Rock & 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 & roll universe.”

This ad for Foreigner’s debut album appeared in the March 19, 1977 issue of Record World

Related: The inside story on how Atlantic Records signed Foreigner

Jones born on December 27, 1944, is the only original member still performing with the band. Gramm, who left the band decades ago but has occasionally reunited for concert appearances will turn 75 in May 2024. Two of the other original members, Ian McDonald and Ed Gagliardi, have died.

Foreigner will continue their farewell tour in 2024. Tickets are available here and here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

14 Comments so far

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  1. Charlie
    #1 Charlie 2 April, 2023, 15:47

    If Foreigner gets in the hall the organization will prove they have no credibility. They should be excluded forever just for “I Want to Know what Love is.”

    Reply this comment
    • Ezyrider
      Ezyrider 3 April, 2023, 02:21

      You’re the problem bands like Foreigner gets overlooked or purposely shunned from the RNRHOF. Much WORSE acts have been inducted. and I can list 3 dozen bands/artists that don’t belong. They have no credibility anyway since it’s run by a bunch of suits that don’t know jackshit about RNR. Can’t forget how Jethro Tull won best heavy metal band over Metallica years ago. Fuck the RNRHOF!

      Reply this comment
      • Maddogg
        Maddogg 30 June, 2023, 20:29

        I absolutely agree. Depeche Mode is in and Foreigner is not? That tells me all I need to know about the legitimacy of that organization!

        Reply this comment
    • Samhainkid
      Samhainkid 3 April, 2023, 08:43

      Haha! Agreed. Bands like Foreigner apparently NEED stuff like this to feel good about themselves. Milquetoast rock so run-of-the-mill vanilla that they influenced NOBODY. Bands like this are why punk HAD to happen. To give rocknroll the kick in the rear it needed at that time. Just because these guys shifted units doesn’t mean we should value quantity over quality. “Groundbreaking songwriting”??? Gimme a break!

      Reply this comment
    • L
      L 11 February, 2024, 21:56

      Bull! A lot of rock bands have excellent ballads including Foreigner

      Reply this comment
  2. SMALLZ
    #2 SMALLZ 3 April, 2023, 02:56

    If Foreigner gets into RnRHOF, why hasn’t PROCOL HARUM? An incredible group, has more hits, been around a lot longer, has been overlooked, and should have been inducted a long time ago. IMHO.

    Reply this comment
  3. NYRocks
    #3 NYRocks 3 April, 2023, 10:50

    Like them or not, based on who is in the so-called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Foreigner 100% should be.

    One of the most egregious omissions is Jethro Tull.

    Reply this comment
  4. ROCKFAN
    #4 ROCKFAN 3 April, 2023, 13:33

    How is it that Foreigner is not in the RNRHOF but, artists like Donna Summer, Dolly Parton and NWA are inducted? Although, they are great in their own individual fields of art they do not in my opinion deserve to be in the RNRHOF. That would be like inducting Pavarotti into the Country music Hall of Fame. It does not make any sense.

    Reply this comment
  5. Da Mick
    #5 Da Mick 3 April, 2023, 18:42

    Jeese, Foreigner, have a little dignity. To make a “plea” to be in the Rock “Hall” is pretty pathetic, especially as the Rock “Hall” itself is such a bunch of crap, and, finally, more and more music fans are coming around to that realization. At this point, I’d say NOT being nominated by this board of know-nothing marketing execs carries more prestige. But begging to be admitted, and then being admitted as a result is really a new low for all involved.

    Reply this comment
  6. themikeison
    #6 themikeison 5 April, 2023, 00:30

    Honestly. We, the buyers of music, do not care about some trivial organization that purports to be the sacred sanctuary for RnR artists. I don’t purchase artist’s music because they are in the so called ‘Hall of Fame’. Whomever created the HoF did so for one reason only: to make money. We buy the music and support the artists we like. From the public’s perspective; there is no need for a RNRHOF.

    Reply this comment

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