If not for a missed royalty check, Rick Wills might not have heard about tryouts for Foreigner. He collected a whopping $35,000 stipend for co-writing Peter Frampton's "Do You Feel Like We Do," secured the job with Foreigner and left years later as their longest-serving bassist.

Both Foreigner and Frampton are now going into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. "I was hoping they would get in, too," Frampton told Billboard. "I figured they would, but you never know, so I'm thrilled."

With Frampton, Wills appeared on 1972's Wind of Change, 1973's Frampton's Camel and 1974's Somethin's Happening. He also co-wrote the concert favorite "Doobie Wah." Short stints followed in Roxy Music and as a fill-in for Ronnie Lane in a newly reformed edition of the Small Faces.

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By then, an extended live version of "Do You Feel Like We Do" had helped Frampton Comes Alive to eight million in sales – and Wills was owed some money. He'd traveled from London to collect when he heard Foreigner was looking for a new bassist.

"The first song that Peter and I ever really sat down and wrote together when I joined him was 'Do You Feel Like We Do,'" Wills later told Q magazine, "and lo and behold, it's become probably one of his best-known songs over the years! ... But that was one of the reasons I happened to be in New York."

Wills joined Foreigner as they recorded 1979's five-times platinum Head Games. "I got to rehearsal, and they were ready to go," Wills told Forbes. "They had some songs, 'Dirty White Boy,' 'Head Games' and stuff like that for me to play. I just fitted right into that whole thing. It just worked so well. It was like I was meant to be there with these guys."

He remained through 1991's Unusual Heat, as Foreigner scored their first No. 1 album (1981's six-times platinum 4) and a trio of platinum singles (including the chart-topping "I Want to Know What Love Is") with Wills in the lineup. Agent Provocateur sold three million copies in 1984, and 1987's Inside Information went platinum, too.

Foreigner's Belated Rock Hall Recognition

Sessions for Unusual Heat would be quite different. Frontman Lou Gramm had followed multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald and keyboardist Al Greenwood out the door. Wills was next. "I said to my wife, 'I think I'm going to have to just quit and do something else,'" Wills told Forbes. He called his friends Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs in Bad Company. "So they invited me to join them, and I did," Wills told Q. "So, the next 10 years, I spent playing with Bad Company – and it was really good fun!"

One of Wills' earliest musical collaborators was David Gilmour. They appeared in a couple of pre-Pink Floyd bands before reuniting for Gilmour's self-titled 1978 debut album. Now, Wills will finally join Bad Company, Gilmour, Roxy Music, the Small Faces and, yes, Peter Frampton in the Rock Hall. Foreigner had been eligible for induction since 2002.

"I suppose we were frustrated, to be perfectly honest, but we tried to hide it as best we could because we didn’t want to appear like we were sad people," Wills told Billboard with a laugh. "I mean what else could you do but what we've done already with our music, and what people have appreciated and enjoyed? We didn't understand why we didn't get that recognition."

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Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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