Juke Box Hero

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"Juke Box Hero"
Single by Foreigner
from the album 4
B-side"I'm Gonna Win"
Released21 January 1982
GenreHard rock
Length4:05 (Single version)
4:18 (Album version)
Songwriter(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"
Audio sample
"Juke Box Hero"

"Juke Box Hero" is a song written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones and performed by their band Foreigner, from their 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]

Although the physical 45 sold fewer than 500,000 copies, "Juke Box Hero" has been certified platinum by the RIAA for over a million digital downloads.

The song focuses on a boy unable to purchase a ticket to a sold-out rock concert. Listening from outside, he hears "one guitar" and has an epiphany, leading him to buy a guitar and learn to play it. He realizes that with the guitar he has a chance to achieve musical stardom.

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. On July 19, 2016 Lou said on the Brother Wease radio show in Rochester, that the song was about him waiting outside the Rochester War Memorial to see Jimi Hendrix but the show was sold out.[2]

The song was developed out of two separate song ideas that were combined with the help of producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. One of the ideas was the "Juke Box Hero" portion that Jones had developed and the other was developed by Gramm and had been called "Take One Guitar".[3]

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. A live version of "Juke Box Hero" was also released on the 2014 album Best of Foreigner 4 & More.[4][5]

Chart history[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 53
Canada RPM Top Singles 39
Germany 24
South Africa (Springbok)[6] 7
UK (The Official Charts Company) 48
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 26
US Billboard Mainstream Rock 3
US Cash Box Top 100 34

In popular culture[edit]

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,[8] to differentiate Aaron Feinberg's part in MindGame's rollerblading video "Brain Fear Gone",[9] and lastly in the late Shane McConkey's "Claim" video.[10]

In addition, the song has been employed commercially. It appeared in a commercial for the product launch in late 2007 of the Samsung Juke cellphone.[11] It is a downloadable track for the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock[12] and the music video game series Rock Band.[13] A mash-up based on the song is featured in DJ Hero, composed and performed by DJ Z-Trip.[14]

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 featured episode "The Dim Knight", an episode of the 2010 television series The Good Guys.[15]

The phrase Juke Box Hero is used by Grace Kelly in the 1956 film musical High Society, in reference to Bing Crosby's character.


  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" (Interview). Interviewed by Carl Wiser. Songfacts.com. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  3. ^ Jeffries, Neil (July 2, 2016). "The Strange and True Story of Foreigner 4". Classic Rock. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  4. ^ "Foreigner revive Juke Box Hero". Classic Rock. December 23, 2014. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  5. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Best of Foreigner 4 & More". Allmusic. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  6. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  8. ^ "The Shaun White Album Music Soundtrack List". SnowboardSoundtracks.com. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  9. ^ "List of Songs from Skate Videos". For us to show off. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  10. ^ "Shane McConkey's Segment in Claim". Freeskier.com. 25 May 2009. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  11. ^ Koerner, Brendan (16 November 2007). "Hype Sheet: Juking for Verizon's Sake". Gizmodo.com.au. Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia: Allure Media. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  12. ^ McElroy, Justin (24 January 2008). "Guitar Hero III 'Classic Rock' pack now live". Joystiq. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  13. ^ "All Available Songs". Rockband.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  14. ^ Hayward, Andrew (7 October 2009). "Full DJ Hero soundtrack revealed". geek.com. Geeknet, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  15. ^ "Music from 1.4 'The Dim Knight'". GoodGuysFans.com. July 16, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2016.

External links[edit]