By: Gary Graff
A reunion of former Foreigner founders Mick Jones and Lou Gramm will be among the highlights of tonight's Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Dinner, taking place at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
Jones and Gramm, who have been estranged since Gramm left the group for good in 2003, will be inducted along with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, JD Souther, Tony Hatch and Holly Knight.
Jones tells us that it will be a night to focus on what the two men accomplished together rather than on their differences:
"I'm very proud of it and very excited for both of us, for Lou equally. We had a tremendous partnership at one point. It went through its ups and downs, eventually it came to its end but it still had a wonderful period of creativity together. So it will be nice to be honoring that, too."
Gramm -- who's chronicled the duo's relationship in his new book 2003 -- says that he, too, plans to let bygones be bygones when the two perform together at the ceremony:
"We've had our problems, the two of us… From stories I've read and people I've talked to, it wasn't that much different than a lot of relationships from main writers in bands. It had its ups and downs, and eventually it just wasn't productive anymore. I think that we wrote some very good songs together. We had some great experiences on the road…When I found out about this, I called him, and I hadn't talked to him in about 10 years."
Jones adds that the discussion between the two was welcome:
"Oh, it was nice...It took a lot to pick up the phone, I think, for both of us. But once that was done, I really wanted, I think we both wanted to just express our gratitude to each other and congratulate each other on that and, y'know, hopefully it'll be a healing, somewhat of a healing experience to do this and share this together and do a couple songs together that night for the first time in perhaps, easily 10 years. So it should be fun, and that's how I think both of us are going to treat it, as a happy event."
Jones continues to lead the latest version of Foreigner, which is working on a new album, while Grammy leads his own band.
Also at tonight's ceremony, Elton John and Bernie Taupin will receive the Johnny Mercer Award, while Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., will be presented with the Pioneer Award and Sam Cook's "A Change is Gonna Come" will receive the Towering Song Award.
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