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Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock 'n' Roll Hardcover – May 1, 2013
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About the Author
Lou Gramm was the lead singer and songwriter for the band Foreigner during the height of the band’s success in the 1970s and 1980s. He wrote or cowrote 20 songs that achieved Top 40 status. He lives in Webster, New York. Scott Pitoniak is an award-winning journalist and the author of 14 books, including Color Him Orange: The Jim Boeheim Story. He lives in Rochester, New York.
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Top customer reviews
Lou exhibits his passion for his music, love for family and his beloved city. "Juke Box Hero, My Five Decades in Rock 'n' Roll" is an in-depth look into the life of a legendary local hero who helped write the soundtrack of the lives of many, his sometime strained relationship with fellow Foreigner bandmate Mick Jones, life on the road, the music "business", his addiction recovery, his conversion to Christianity and brush with death. Thank you, Lou for your story, and for all you have given to your community, and the world! You are loved and we are proud of you- God bless.
I tore through the book in no time flat. Could scarcely put it down. Lou writes in an easy, conversational style that is a pleasure to read. He recaps his childhood, the various stages of his career (the Poor Heart years, the Black Sheep years, Foreigner, solo, and post-Foreigner), his medical scares, and a bit of his (non-medical) personal life. There are no major gaps yet...
The book is too short. Amazon lists it as 210 pages but it's not. The last 4 pages are a discography for Lou. And even "206" would be misleading. There are a lot of empty pages and the print/spacing are a bit bigger than normal. The reality is that this book is more like 180-190 pages, tops. The result is that the reader is left wanting a lot more detail on...well, just about everything. It is obvious that Lou's re-dedication to Christianity has resulted in him watering down stories a bit or simply not discussing things. I'm not looking for Lou to dish up dirt or to write a tabloid but more stories of the road or some of the wild & crazy antics would have been nice. More details on his arguments with Mick would have been good as well. We get nice detail on the financial wedge that drove Lou away after "Inside Information" but not enough additional material. Lou's first two wives are barely mentioned with no detail on meeting them, their courtship, nothing.
Also, there aren't very many photos included. We get a few pages covering Lou's life but only a single shot that includes Mick Jones and that one is a group shot of the original lineup. Not a single "here they are writing a song" or "here they are performing together" or "here's Lou & Mick in happier times" photo? Where are the photos of Lou's current band? Or his family? And so on.
Lou goes into good detail on his medical scares, which is probably the best, most complete area of the book. He recounts the pain, the surgery, and the difficulty in recovering.
On a positive note: the book ends with Lou mentioning his induction (w/Mick) in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the ceremony for which took place after the book was finished. He writes of talking to Mick and being hopeful that they could reconcile a bit. The ceremony is now in the past and they performed together and the experience was apparently a positive one. So that's a good thing.
Bottom Line: The book is good, it's easy to read, but the reader is definitely left wanting more. Definitely still waiting for the definitive Foreigner book.
The only things that surprised me about him is that he really wasn't interested in singing when he first started in music (with those vocal chops!), that his parents were musicians and he has a love for horses and he likes Adele's voice. He discusses his childhood, the life of a rock musician (in times of struggle as well as success), his struggle and triumph over addiction, the brain tumor that nearly ended his life and conflict with Mick Jones, founder of Foreigner, with whom he hopes to reconcile as well as his thoughts on Foreigner's present line up. He probably could have included more salacious details, but, I appreciated the fact he didn't. He comes across as someone who's made peace with his past and gained a lot of wisdom.
I do hope he does get the chance to work with fledgling musicians. He'd make a great mentor.