I was a big fan of Autograph in the mid 80’s, and whilst it’s cool to dismiss them as a one hit wonder (‘Turn Up The Radio’) and part of the so called ‘hair metal’ movement (wrong on both counts), it needs to be remembered that they had many great hard rock / AOR songs and a durability that saw them last 10 or so years and sell over 1 and a half million albums. Nothing to be sneezed at my friends. Autograph toured with Motley Crue, Heart, Aerosmith, Dio, Van Halen, Bryan Adams, and Whitesnake. Part of the distinctive guitar sound in Autograph was attributable to Steve Lynch, who has a unique two-handed, fretboard-tapping technique, which eventually won him the “Guitar Solo of the Year” award from Guitar Player magazine for his work on Autograph’s signature song, “Turn Up The Radio.” I had read about Autograph in Circus magazine, and knew that Van Halen had taken them out on tour with them – an unusual thing to happen, considering that Autograph were not even signed to a record label at that time (around 83). I picked up their ‘Sign In Please’ album in early 85, at K-Mart at Warriewood of all places, attached it to the luggage rack on the bicycle and peddled the 10 kilometres back home. I was not disappointed. ‘Sign In Please’ had many great songs, similar in parts to Journey or Foreigner, but the guitars were more metallised, yet the tunes had big harmony chorus and were damn catchy. Anyway, 1985 came and went, and so did the bands follow up album, ‘That’s The Stuff’, with its catchy single, ‘Blondes In Black Cars’. 1987’s ‘Loud and Clear’ was a good album too, a heavier sounding album from the band, but by then, the musical landscape had changed, and bigger bands (Poison etc) took the spotlight and the record company agenda – so Autograph went by the way side. Steve Plunkett wrote some of the great song son the ‘Rock Star’ movie, and now I am here listening to an album by the band called ‘Missing Pieces’, which came out in around 1997. This album was released by Plunkett and it contains previously unreleased Autograph material from 1988-1989. It’s pretty good too! Lots of great rock n roll played the Autograph including the BIG sounding ‘Heart Attack’, with its BIG catchy chorus and even some Steve Lynch tapping on the solo. ‘When I’m Gone’ is mid tempo melodic hard rock, a great song. Polished song writing, man, could ‘The Plunk’ write a good song or what. He’s written hundreds of ‘em. ‘I’ve Got You’ is a radio friendly tune, which has HIT SINGLE all over it, why wasn’t this released? What a song! ‘Sanctuary’ rocks hard and is again, catchy, complete with its ‘nah nah nah’ chorus. ‘Sweet Temptation’ is again, radio friendly, that had me thinking of Def Leppard. In the late 80’s, musically retarded bands like bands Warrant and Poison filled the stadiums, when bands who could actually write GREAT SONGS like Autograph ultimately folded due to lack of sales and support. What a shame. Autograph had the potential to go on to be as big as Journey. If you think I’m heaping over deserved praise, then consider the facts. When Autograph disbanded in 1989, Plunkett became a staff writer and producer for All Nations Music, where he had over 170 of his songs released, including over 40 in movies like Rock Star, “Brave New Girl” (Britney Spears penned movie for ABC Family) and Gods and Monsters. Many artists have recorded his songs including Vixen, The Go-Go’s, and Marc Anthony and Edgar Winter. He has also produced artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Loretta Lynn, Graham Nash and En Vogue. He wrote and performed the theme song for the WB television series 7th Heaven, as well as several other theme songs for shows such as Summerland and Kojak and Queen of Swords which featured “Behind the Mask” performed by Jose Feliciano. Steve has had his original songs in hundreds of TV shows like “Beverly Hills 90210″, Melrose Place”, “Sex and the City” and “The Simpsons”. Those facts speak volumes my friends. ‘Missing Pieces’ is a great album, but hey, I think all the Autograph albums are great. This post is dedicated to the memory of Autograph’s keyboardist Steve Isham, who passed away in December 9, 2008 at the age of 56. If you ain’t yet discovered the great music of Steve Plunkett and Autograph, well I hope this post get’s you started. Go get yourself Autographed!
What’s The Rockbrat Listening To Today ? AUTOGRAPH- MISSING PIECES CD (1997)Posted: January 19, 2011 by Cowboy Col in What's The Rockbrat Listening To Today ?
Tags: Autograph, Blondes In Black Cars, Loud and Clear, Missing Pieces, Sign In Please, Steve Isham, Steve Lynch, Steve Plunkett, That’s The Stuff, Turn Up The Radio