It'd be hard to argue that a band with as many hits as Foreigner doesn't have enough on its resumé for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to come calling.
Original Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame back in 2013. But after 19 years of eligibility for the Rock Hall, Foreigner has yet to be honored with so much as a nomination.
Gramm believes his band's long-running omission from the Rock Hall has nothing to do with its career but a "more personal" issue between the band and someone in charge.
"I think it's less about whether we're qualified and I think it might be more personal now," the singer told Sleeve Saturday.
He continued, recalling that one day Jones and the band's longtime manager had a meeting with someone involved with the Rock Hall. The meeting "led to some heated words" and did not end well.
"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."
Jones himself has expressed apathy towards being honored by the Hall of Fame, suggesting that there is indeed a "political" reason for Foreigner's lingering omission.
Longtime Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson surmised in a 2021 interview that the band's exclusion comes down to the fact that "critics were never all that into Foreigner; they always viewed it as very commercial and corporate."
Indeed, while Foreigner has sold an estimated 80 million records worldwide since 1977 — including enduring hits like "Feels Like the First Time," "Cold As Ice," "Hot Blooded," "I Want to Know What Love Is" and others — the band only been nominated for three Grammy awards and never won.