Foreigner’s Kelly Hansen Balks at Band’s Rock Hall Exclusion
For as long as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has existed, there have been music fans protesting that their favorite artist has been excluded.
A band like Foreigner, which has sold tens of millions of albums and has been a classic rock institution for decades, is a prime candidate for this kind of discussion. Recently, a fan who's intimately familiar with the inner workings of the group came to its defense: current singer Kelly Hansen.
The 62-year-old vocalist, who's fronted Foreigner since 2005, balked at the fact that the band has never been nominated for the Rock Hall, despite being eligible since 2003. "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 & Roll Hall of Fame," Hansen recently told the Houston Press.
"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?" he continued. "This band has sold 80 million-plus records. And that's real records, not streams or downloads! That is the definition of influence!"
Hansen made his case even though he would likely not be included in Foreigner's Rock Hall induction, as the institution typically sticks to classic-era members. In the lead-singer position, that honor would go to Lou Gramm, who helmed Foreigner's most successful albums and left the band for the final time in 2003.
Classic-era members are few and far between on Foreigner's ongoing farewell tour, with co-founding guitarist and sole original member Mick Jones appearing occasionally as his health permits. "We always want him to be there whenever possible. Mick is still the architect of this band and is there whenever he can be there," Hansen said. "And any past member is also welcome to come on and jam with us. We're kind of making a statement about the legacy and history of this band."