Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

7Apr/1050

Turn up the radio….but not too loud, okay?

According to this piece from the Onion A.V. Club, there are people on our planet that are completely unaware of the alternative rock group R.E.M. - which prior to this moment, you and I both thought that those guys were pretty famous.  (And they must have done something right, since they're celebrating 30 years as a band this week.)

So, it's really possible that there are people that missed out on the "Shiny Happy People" marathon that was in your face on both radio and music television in 1991?

Wow.  Should we even talk about The B-52's?

Nevermind.

While I am aghast at the notion that an entire segment of our fine nation exists peacefully unaware of Michael Stipe, I take comfort knowing that they will probably know who Autograph is by the end of 2010.  "Turn Up The Radio" (the band's best-known hit) has prime placement in the opening credits for the new John Cusack comedy vehicle Hot Tub Time Machine, which hit theaters a few weeks ago.

Things go better with rock.

You're goddamn right they do.

Autograph - Sign in Please

Which explains why the music supervisors put Autograph front and center, in the midst of a soundtrack that overall,  rules throughout the entire movie.  In fact, if you're a Cusack fan, Hot Tub Time Machine finally ends a short string of dud flicks and finds Cusack in his funniest comedy role since Grosse Pointe Blank.  I was stunned.  Great soundtrack, great movie - two thumbs way up!

After I got home from the movie, I had to pull up the video for "Turn Up The Radio" on Youtube.

Believe it or not, I don't think I've ever seen this video before.  Growing up, we didn't have cable for a good portion of the early years that MTV was on the air.  So I missed out on knowing that there was an Autograph video in which the hand from the Sign In Please album cover comes to life!  Watching this video, Autograph haters (was there such a thing) surely were hoping that the band would be vaporized by a giant laser.

"Turn Up The Radio" sounds cheesy now, and actually, it already sounded cheesy back then, but I thought it was cool.  The rest of the album?  Not really.

Frontman Steve Plunkett formed the band originally as a solo project, after leaving the band Silver Condor.  Inspiration for the band name came after hearing "Photograph" by Def Leppard on the radio.  Their demo started making the rounds, and friend/producer Andy Johns handed a copy to David Lee Roth, who invited the band to open for Van Halen on their 1984 tour.  After a Madison Square Garden performance with VH, Autograph signed to RCA Records.  Not a bad Cinderella story, eh?

Allegedly, "Turn Up The Radio" was one of the last songs recorded for Sign In Please, and band members weren't too keen on it initially.  It made the album though, and that's a good thing, because "Turn Up The Radio" ended up being a top 30 hit for Autograph, eventually pushing sales of Sign In Please to platinum.  Not bad.

On a side note, there was another Autograph prior to the Autograph that most of us are familiar with - a progressive rock band formed in 1979 that even performed on Live Aid.  The song they performed features a Russian song title which I can't reproduce here, but in Russian, it means "Steve Plunkett, we're coming to kick your ass for taking our name."

Okay, I lied.  It actually means "Nam Nuzhen Mir - We Need Peace."

I like my translation better.

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