"Juke Box Hero" is a song written by Lou Gramm and Mick Jones, 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.
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.
Fun Fact: 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.