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Foreigner's Lou Gramm Recalls Complicated Life As "Juke Box Hero"

Born into a working class family in Rochester, Louis Grammatico was just the right age to have his entire worldview warped by Elvis and The Beatles, and before long, he found himself drawn to rock music, first as a drummer, then as a vocalist.

Singing and songwriting ultimately become Lou Gramm’s trademark, bringing him from the bars and clubs of upstate New York to the height of the charts with Foreigner.

Like any good rock story, Gramm’s is full of ups and downs. He sold millions of records and become an iconic radio voice thanks to hits like “Feels Like The First Time,” “Cold as Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” and “Juke Box Hero.”

But his relationship with Foreigner’s Mick Jones has often been strained, and at the same time, Gramm suffered from drug and alcohol addition. Then, in his mid-40s, he was told he had an inoperable brain tumor.

Gramm survived that brush with death and remained in the music business, both with the band that he led to arenas around the world and as a solo artist.

Lou Gramm recounts his life and work in his new memoir, Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock and Roll, which is published by Triumph.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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