It’s not a “foreign” concept to put a great band in the Hall of Fame
David T. Farr
It seems like a popular thing for me to write about bands and artists that I think deserve recognition from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Whether people agree with me or have their own suggestions, this is a valid topic. I enjoy reading my emails from fellow dedicated music lovers.
My recent talk on why Phil Collins should be inducted into Rock Hall was well received and garnered over 250 email responses. I liked it. And, it seems the majority of my readers agreed with my idea that the superstar belongs to the greatest. Just to reiterate – Phil is already a member of Genesis. I happen to believe his solo work deserves an induction as well.
There are many other worthy artists who should also be recognized for their contributions to the world of music entertainment. Some of the names I will be arbitrating over the next few months include artists as diverse as Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club, Tears For Fears, Kool & The Gang, Cher, Kenny Loggins, Kenny Rogers, Huey Lewis & The News, Billy Idol and Sammy Hagar.
At the moment, however, I’m strongly rooting for the Foreigner band to be inducted soon. It baffles me to know that they weren’t even nominated. Why???
I’ve loved this band for as long as I can remember. The stranger was a pillar in our house. So many memories come flooding back when I hear their songs. It seems like yesterday when my brother came home from school with “Hot Blooded” blaring through his car windows. My mom didn’t care either because she secretly loved those songs too.
The British-American rock band formed in 1976 in New York when British guitarist Mick Jones and Ian McDonald met American singer Lou Gramm. It was Jones who came up with the band’s name and included fellow members Dennis Elliott, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.
The debut album, “Foreigner”, was a hit and was the first of four consecutive albums to be certified 5x platinum. The album featured great rock tracks, including the hits “Feels Like The First Time” and “Cold As Ice”.
Their second release, “Double Vision”, caused even more of a stir and featured the tracks “Hot Blooded” and the title track.
“Head Games” continued their winning streak, but it was the band’s fourth studio album, “4,” that took the guys to a whole new level. The album stayed at No. 1 for 10 weeks while producing massive singles including “Urgent”, “Juke Box Hero”, and “Waiting For A Girl Like You”. “Waiting For A Girl Like You” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it stayed for an incredible 10 weeks. You guessed it – he rewrote the record books.
The guys were definitely hitmakers with a track record to prove it. But, “Waiting For A Girl Like You” was their first power ballad. Now Journey and REO Speedwagon had another band stealing some of their thunder.
I loved all these songs. The stranger was an incredible and if they never did anything else again, they could still be proud of their legacy. However, their best was to come next. Of course, it’s my opinion to say that, but I believe their single, “I Want To Know What Love Is”, is one of the best songs ever written and performed, period!
“I Want To Know What Love Is” from the album “Agent Provocateur” was written by Jones and sung by Gramm. The song features impeccable backing vocals from the New Jersey Mass Choir with Jennifer Holliday. The complete set, including Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins, is pure perfection. It topped the Hot 100 for three weeks and is ranked as one of the most played and popular songs of the modern rock era. I know I played the heck out of it.
More hit songs followed, 47 in all from the band’s nine studio albums, seven live albums and over 20 miscellaneous compilation albums. But, with fame also came several line-up changes. Kelly Hanson is currently lead singer, but Gramm will always be a stranger to me.
Foreigner has sold over 50 million albums and still remains a successful touring act no matter who is at the helm as lead singer.
When you think of great bands, especially those enshrined in the Rock Hall, it seems only fitting that Foreigner should be among the greatest.
— David T. Farr is a newspaper correspondent. Email him at [email protected]