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
Length 4:05 (Single version)
4:18 (Album version)
Label Atlantic
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"
"Waiting for a Girl Like You"
"Juke Box Hero"
"Break It Up"
Audio sample

"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 less 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 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.[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.

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.

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

The song was featured episode "The Dim Knight", an episode of the 2010 television series The Good Guys.[11]


  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). 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.com. 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. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Hayward, Andrew (7 October 2009). "Full DJ Hero soundtrack revealed". geek.com. Geeknet, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "Music from 1.4 'The Dim Knight'". GoodGuysFans.com. July 16, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 

External links[edit]