Juke Box Hero

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"Juke Box Hero"
Single by Foreigner
from the album 4
B-side "I'm Gonna Win"
Released January, 1982
Format 7"
Recorded 1981
Genre Hard rock
Length 4:05 (Single version)
4:18 (Album version)
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Lou Gramm, Mick Jones
Producer(s) Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Foreigner singles chronology
"Waiting for a Girl Like You"
"Juke Box Hero"
"Break It Up"
Music sample

"Juke Box Hero" is a song written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones and performed by their band Foreigner, from their 7x Platinum 1981 album 4. It first entered the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in July 1981. Released as the album's third single in early 1982, it subsequently went to #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1]

The song focuses on a boy unable to purchase a ticket to a sold-out rock concert at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Listening from outside, he hears "one guitar" and has an epiphany, leading him to buy his own guitar from a second-hand store and begin to play without any lessons. He realizes that with the guitar he can become famous, and does.

The song then goes on to describe the struggle he has to stay on top of the music charts, which makes him a "Juke Box Hero." He eventually encounters another fan outside the stage door at one of his concerts, who reminds him of himself and how it all began. Mick Jones told Songfacts that the song was inspired by an actual fan who stood waiting outside an arena for about five hours in the rain. Jones, impressed by his dedication, decided to take him in and give him a glimpse of what happens backstage at a show.[2]

This song was also re-recorded live at a 2005 Las Vegas concert where it includes portions of the Led Zeppelin song "Whole Lotta Love" (from Led Zeppelin II), and released on Foreigner's Extended Versions album.

In popular culture[edit]

A cover version by Soul Asylum appeared on their 2006 compilation Closer to the Stars: Best of the Twin/Tone Years.[3] Outside of this, the song appears as background music in at least three sport documentaries or videos: once in 2004 about American professional snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White,[4] to differentiate Aaron Feinberg's part in MindGame's rollerblading video "Brain Fear Gone",[5] and lastly in the late Shane McConkey's "Claim" video.[6]

In addition, the song has been employed commercially. Mistakenly titled "Jukebox Hero", it appeared in a commercial for the product launch in late 2007 of the Samsung Juke cellphone.[7] It is a downloadable track for the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock[8] and the music video game series Rock Band.[9] A mash-up based on the song is featured in DJ Hero, composed and performed by DJ Z-Trip.[10]

A roller derby skater for the Rose City Rollers in Portland, Oregon used this song title as inspiration for her derby name, Juice Box Hero.[citation needed]

The song was used in a mashup with "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" in the 2012 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages.

The song was covered in the 5th episode, "The Role You Were Born To Play", of the 4th season of the American musical comedy-drama television series, Glee, as the audition song for the new character Ryder Lynn.

The song was heard over the PA at the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, to the dismay and puzzlement of some hockey fans.[which?][citation needed]

Jimmy Fallon lip synched the song for The Tonight Show.[11]

The song was mentioned and quoted by Ignignokt in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Revenge of the Mooninites".

In High Society (1956), Grace Kelly says to Bing Crosby: "you're just a juke box hero." Not known if this is the origin or a coincidence.

The animated film, Kung Fu Panda 3, has a sequence where Po sings a parody called "Nunchuck Princess," where Mei Mei, a giant panda ribbon dancer, struggles to master the nunchaku weapon.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  2. ^ Jones, Mick (October 23, 2009). Mick Jones of Foreigner. Songfacts.com. Interview with Carl Wiser. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Closer To the Stars: Best of the Twin/Tone Years". EnterTheSoulAsylum.com. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "The Shaun White Album Music Soundtrack List". SnowboardSoundtracks.com. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "List of Songs from Skate Videos". For us to show off. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "SHANE MCCONKEY'S SEGMENT IN CLAIM". Freeskier. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Koerner, Brendan (16 November 2007). "Hype Sheet: Juking for Verizon’s Sake". Gizmodo.com.au. Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia: Allure Media. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ McElroy, Justin (24 January 2008). "Guitar Hero III 'Classic Rock' pack now live". Joystiq. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ "All Available Songs". Rockband.com. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Hayward, Andrew (7 October 2009). "Full DJ Hero soundtrack revealed". geek.com. Geeknet, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  11. ^ http://news.moviefone.com/2014/02/26/paul-rudd-jimmy-fallon-lip-sync-battle-video/

External links[edit]