Monday, May 31, 2010

Autograph - Discography

Autograph was an American Hard Rock band from Los Angeles, California. Active on RCA from 1984 to 1989, they sold over a million records and were awarded gold with their "Sign In Please" album. A new version of the band (v2.02) was formed by their founder Steve Plunkett in 2002 for a single album.

Autograph began in late 1983 originally as a solo project for singer-songwriter/guitarist Steve Plunkett (also known as "Plunk"), who had recently left the band Silver Condor, due to his frustration with their lack of interest in recording his songs. Plunkett then began playing and recording his own material with a group of his musician friends, most of whom had previously played with him in other bands.

On lead guitar was Steve Lynch who had played with Plunkett in the band Looker, and who has a distinctive 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." Bassist Randy Rand knew Plunkett from their days together in Wolfgang, a prominent club band in Los Angeles, which has been described as a local legend and of which Kevin Dubrow (lead singer of Quiet Riot) said, "They smoked us all....They a got better response than us and Van Halen"[1]. Steve Isham, keyboard player and longtime friend of Plunkett's, had earlier played with Holly Penfield, and on drums, Plunkett called on Keni Richards, his bandmate from John Doe, and whose friendship with Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth led to Autograph's big break.

Quickly, this group of musicians recording together took the form of an actual band. Plunkett chose the name "Autograph" for the band, having been inspired by hearing Def Leppard's similarly-titled song, "Photograph," on the radio. They recorded their first rough demos in late 1983, but played them only for a few close friends. One of these friends, Andy Johns, a famous record producer, invited the band to re-record and upgrade those demos at the world-famous Record Plant studios - for free under his guidance. Keni Richards then played that new demo for David Lee Roth of Van Halen, who subsequently invited the band to open for them in their 1984 tour.

The band rose to prominence opening for Van Halen on their 1984 tour, ultimately playing 48 shows, an act of distinction for an unsigned band. Autograph signed a contract with RCA Records following a performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1984.

The band’s debut album, Sign in Please, was completed and released in October of that year, but did not make an appearance on any record charts until January 1985. Sign in Please contains the band’s only major hit and signature song, "Turn Up the Radio." Interestingly, according to Autograph's Turn Up the Web website, the tune was one of the last songs recorded for the album, and the band members were initially very lukewarm toward it. The song became a top-30 hit, pushing album sales past the gold mark (500,000 copies sold). The album later went platinum. "Turn Up The Radio" was featured in an episode of Miami Vice entitled "Little Prince" and numerous other films.

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Autograph - Sign in Please (1984)
Steve Plunkett: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Steve Lynch: Lead Guitar
Randy Rand: Bass Guitar
Steven Isham: Keys
Keni Richards: Drums

Their 1984 debut album. The album featured their signature song, "Turn Up the Radio," and their other minor hit, "Send Her to Me," both of which had accompanying videos. "Turn Up the Radio" was featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and "All I'm Gonna Take" was featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.


Tracks:

01. Send Her to Me
02. Turn Up The Radio
03. Night Teen & Non-Stop
04. Cloud 10
05. Deep End
06. My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Isn't Me
07. Thrill of Love
08. Friday
09. In The Night
10. All I'm Gonna Take

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Autograph - That's The Stuff (1985)
Steve Plunkett: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Steve Lynch: Lead Guitar
Randy Rand: Bass Guitar
Steven Isham: Keys
Keni Richards: Drums

A different version of the album surfaced later in 1986, featuring a blue cover with slightly different artwork. This version of the album found the track "We're an American Band" replacing "Six String Fever" as track 6.

A remastered version of the original album (red cover) was released by Spitfire Records in 2002, which retained the same track listing as the original, apart from the substitution of "Six String Fever" with a cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band" as track #6. Since it's remastered release in 2002 the CD has become extremely rare to find. Prices range from 40 to 70 dollars to buy the album on the web.


Tracks:
01. That's the Stuff
02. Take No Prisoners
03. Blondes in Black Cars
04. You'll Get Over It
05. Crazy World
06. We're An American band
07. Changing Hands
08. Hammerhead (Instrumental)
09. Built for Speed
10. Paint This Town

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Autograph - Loud & Clear (1987)
Steve Plunkett: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Steve Lynch: Lead Guitar
Randy Rand: Bass Guitar
Steven Isham: Keys
Keni Richards: Drums

Two of the tracks featured on this album, "Dance all Night" and "She Never Looked that Good For Me" appeared (along with the band themselves) in the film Like Father Like Son, released the same year. The CD is no longer in production. The title song "Loud and Clear" featured a music video with Ozzy Osbourne and Vince Neil as extras.


Tracks:
01. Loud and Clear
02. Dance All Night
03. She Never Looked that Good for Me
04. Bad Boy
05. Everytime I Dream
06. She's a Tease
07. Just Got back from Heaven
08. Down N Dirty
09. More than a Million Times
10. When the Sun Goes Down

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Autograph - Missing Pieces (1997)


Tracks:
01. All Night Long
02. Heartattack
03. When I'm Gone
04. I've Got You
05. One-Way Dead-End Street
06. Sanctuary
07. Sweet Temptation
08. Love Comes Easy
09. Angel In Black
10. Turn up the Radio
11. Angela

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Autograph - Buzz (2003)
* Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards: Steve Plunkett
* Guitars: T. J. Helmerich
* Bass: Lance Morrison
* Drums: Matt Laug

Steve Plunkett Is Autograph, meaning he writes all the songs, plays all the keyboards, some guitar, and of course, is the lead vocalist. Buzz starts off with off with the same keyboard sound you remember from them on “Break A Sweat.” A lot of ‘80s singers have lost their voice and just kind of walk through the notes (Joe Elliott, Vince Neil, etc.) but Plunkett more than holds his own. Trying to sing along to his belting out “Break a sweat!” during the chorus won’t do your vocal cords any good. He was always underrated as a singer, but shouldn’t be. This isn’t the pop-driven Autograph; this is the Autograph that just begs to “turn it up.” Great song.


Tracks:
01. Break and Sweat
02. Shake The Tree
03. She's the Reason
04. Fed up with Beeinn Down
05. That
06. Party Like we Did
07. Buzz
08. Like it Hot
09. Heart Raper
10. Can't Stop Rockin'

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Autograph - More Missing Pieces (2003)
This Cd Features The Entire 1997 Release "Missing Pieces" along with 7 New Demo/Unreleased Tracks.



Tracks:
01. All Night Long
02. Heartattack
03. When I'm Gone
04. I've Got You
05. One-Way Dead-End Street
06. Sanctuary
07. Sweet Temptation
08. Love Comes Easy
09. Angel In Black
10. Turn up the Radio
11. Angela
12. Nothin' to Lose
13. Reason to Rock
14. Send Her to Me
15. Nighteen and Nonstop
16. Friday
17. Deep End
18. All I'm Gonna Take