Juke Box Hero

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"Juke Box Hero"
Single by Foreigner
from the album 4
B-side"I'm Gonna Win"
Released2 October 1981 (UK)[1]
  • 29 January 1982 (US)[2]
GenreHard rock
Length4:18 (album version)
4:05 (single version)
Producer(s)Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Foreigner singles chronology
"Waiting for a Girl Like You"
"Juke Box Hero"
"Break It Up"
Music video
"Juke Box Hero" on YouTube
"Juke Box Hero" on YouTube

"Juke Box Hero" is a song by British-American rock band Foreigner written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones from their 1981 album 4. It first entered the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in July 1981 and eventually reached #3 on that chart.[3] Released as the album's third single in early 1982, it subsequently went to #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart[4][5]


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. Impressed by his dedication, Jones decided to take him in and give him a glimpse of what happens backstage at a concert. On July 19, 2016, Lou Gramm 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.[6][7] Jones has rated it as one his 11 favorite Foreigner songs.[8] According to Gramm, this is his favorite Foreigner song.[9]

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".[10]

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.[11][12]

This song later became the namesake of, and was included in, the 2019 coming-of-age jukebox musical Jukebox Hero, based on the songs of Foreigner.[13]


Ultimate Classic Rock critic Matt Wardlaw ranked "Juke Box Hero" as Foreigner's all time greatest song, stating that "for anyone who has ever been on the wrong side of a sold-out concert, "Juke Box Hero" will touch a chord."[14] Billboard called it "a snarling rocker featuring tough guitar breaks and hot vocals."[15] Billboard reviewer Gary Graff rated "Juke Box Hero" to be Foreigner's 5th greatest song.[16]

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.[17]



Additional personnel[edit]

Chart history[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 53
Canada RPM Top Singles 39
Germany 24
South Africa (Springbok)[18] 7
UK (The Official Charts Company)[19] 48
US Billboard Hot 100[4][20] 26
US Billboard Mainstream Rock[3] 3
US Cash Box Top 100 34


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[21] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Foreigner singles".
  2. ^ "RIAA certifications for Foreigner".
  3. ^ a b "Foreigner Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  4. ^ a b "Foreigner Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  6. ^ Jones, Mick (October 23, 2009). "Mick Jones of Foreigner" (Interview). Interviewed by Carl Wiser. Songfacts.com. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Top 100 Classic Rock Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. June 20, 2013. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  8. ^ "Mick Jones' 11 Favourite Foreigner Songs". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. April 26, 2017. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  9. ^ Would Lou Gramm Reunite With Foreigner For Rock Hall of Fame?, retrieved 2022-11-23
  10. ^ Jeffries, Neil (July 2, 2016). "The Strange and True Story of Foreigner 4". Classic Rock. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  11. ^ "Foreigner revive Juke Box Hero". Classic Rock. December 23, 2014. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  12. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Best of Foreigner 4 & More". Allmusic. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  13. ^ Browne, David (February 20, 2019). "Inside 'Jukebox Hero,' the New Foreigner Musical". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  14. ^ Wardlaw, Matt (May 2, 2015). "Top 10 Foreigner Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  15. ^ "Top Single Picks". Billboard. February 6, 1982. p. 74. Retrieved 2023-01-21.
  16. ^ Graff, Gary (October 11, 2017). "Foreigner's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  17. ^ "American certifications – Foreigner". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  18. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Foreigner singles". The Official Chart Company. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  20. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  21. ^ "American single certifications – Foreigner – Jukebox Hero". Recording Industry Association of America.