Lou Gramm on the Tense Meeting About Getting Foreigner in the Rock Hall
Foreigner never being nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is one of many notable omissions from the institution. After all, the band has a slew of hits and has sold millions of records. However, original singer Lou Gramm says that the group has essentially been shunned from the Rock Hall.
Gramm detailed this in an appearance on Good Day Rochester. He said that guitarist Mick Jones and Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner were once close friends. After some of the bands who were peers of Foreigner were inducted, a meeting was set up between Jones, Wenner and Foreigner’s manager. This meeting was scheduled to see what Foreigner did or didn’t do to be ignored by the Rock Hall.
Gramm said, “[The meeting] got real heated, and when our manager and Mick got up to leave [Wenner] said, ‘It’ll be a cold day in hell before Foreigner gets into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
Of course, that cold day could perhaps happen. Last month, Wenner was voted out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation board.
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This move came after Wenner made insulting comments about women/artists of color to The New York Times while promoting his book, The Masters. The book is a collection of interviews Wenner conducted with seven rock subjects. All seven subjects were white men.
When pressed on why he didn’t highlight any Black people or any women, Wenner said, in part, “The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
Wenner went on to namecheck the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. However, he stuck to his “articulate” reasoning even with these beloved and respected music icons.
Three days after The New York Times interview was published, Rolling Stone issued a statement. The publication, which Wenner co-founded, made sure to distance itself from both his comments and Wenner, himself. Rolling Stone condemned Wenner’s controversial remarks and noted he’s had nothing to do with the outlet since 2019. Additionally, RS said, “Our purpose, especially since his departure, has been to tell stories that reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that shape our world.”