Juke Box Hero
|"Juke Box Hero"|
|Single by Foreigner|
|from the album 4|
|B-side||"I'm Gonna Win"|
|Length||4:05 (Single version)
4:18 (Album version)
|Songwriter(s)||Lou Gramm, Mick Jones|
|Producer(s)||Robert John "Mutt" Lange|
|Foreigner singles chronology|
"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.
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 19th 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.
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
A cover version by Soul Asylum appeared on their 2006 compilation Closer to the Stars: Best of the Twin/Tone Years. 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, to differentiate Aaron Feinberg's part in MindGame's rollerblading video "Brain Fear Gone", and lastly in the late Shane McConkey's "Claim" video.
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. It is a downloadable track for the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and the music video game series Rock Band. A mash-up based on the song is featured in DJ Hero, composed and performed by DJ Z-Trip.
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.
In the feature film High Society (1956), Grace Kelly says to Bing Crosby: "you're just a juke box hero." This may be the original inspiration for the song's title phrase, or it may be coincidence.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
- Jones, Mick (October 23, 2009). "Mick Jones of Foreigner". Songfacts.com (Interview). Interview with Carl Wiser. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
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- McElroy, Justin (24 January 2008). "Guitar Hero III 'Classic Rock' pack now live". Joystiq. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
- "All Available Songs". Rockband.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- Hayward, Andrew (7 October 2009). "Full DJ Hero soundtrack revealed". geek.com. Geeknet, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Music from 1.4 'The Dim Knight'". GoodGuysFans.com. July 16, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2016.