Sunday, September 17, 2017

"Turn Up the Radio" by Autograph

Song#:  2165
Date:  12/22/1984
Debut:  89
Peak:  29
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Hard Rock, Arena Rock

Pop Bits:  This Pasadena band got assembled via guitarist Steve Plunkett in 1983. Made up of veteran musicians from various other bands, the group quickly rehearsed and recorded a demo while gigging around and gaining a solid reputation. Some connections via their previous bands helped them secure a spot opening for Van Halen and that led to a contract with RCA Records. They readied their debut album, Sign in Please, which got released in October of '84. It got off to a slow start, but things picked up when this song was issued as a single and its associated video moved into heavy rotation on MTV. That helped the song reach #17 at Rock and get inside the Pop Top 30. It would be their only appearance on the Pop chart. The hit helped the album get to #29 and eventually it would be a gold seller. The band's next two albums wouldn't do as well and by the end of the decade they called it quits. Reunions and other albums would happen later, but their peak moment would always remain this signature track.

ReduxReview:  This was another biggie at the skating rink where I did a stint as a DJ. The kids love it. And this was around '86-'87, so long past it's heyday. It was far more popular than what its chart peak would indicate. The tune is still a standard on classic rock stations. I catch it every once in a while on the local one. The song is arena ready with a huge chorus and also an excellent finger-tapping guitar solo by band member Steve Lynch. Apparently, when the band was on tour with Van Halen, Lynch was told not to do any finger-tap enhanced solos because that was Eddie Van Halen's signature move. However, Lynch maintained that he was doing it long before he knew who Van Halen was. Regardless, he did great work on this jam.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  MTV was becoming bigger each year and many companies were beginning to jump on the bandwagon to market their products to the channel's key, young demographic. Cross promotions and product placement within the music videos were beginning to take place and the video for "Turn Up the Radio" was an early example. The band entered into a deal with Paper Mate where the company paid for the video in exchange for product placement. When the video starts, the band enters a room and a robot tells them to "sign in please." They are given a Paper Mate Sharpwriter Pencil and each band member signs in. As they do, close ups of the pencil are shown. It's not known how successful the gimmick was, but other companies would jump on board soon after and it still exists today.


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