Turn Up the Radio (Autograph song)

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"Turn Up the Radio"
Autograph TUTR.jpg
Single by Autograph
from the album Sign In Please
B-side"Thrill of Love"
ReleasedDecember 22, 1984
Format7" single
GenreGlam metal, heavy metal
LabelRCA Records
Songwriter(s)Steve Plunkett, Steve Isham, Randy Rand, Steve Lynch, Keni Richards
Producer(s)Neil Kernon
Autograph singles chronology
"Turn Up the Radio"
"Send Her to Me"

"Turn Up the Radio" is a song by American glam metal band Autograph and the lead single from their 1984 debut album, Sign In Please. Released by RCA Records on December 22, 1984, "Turn Up The Radio" was Autograph's only Top 40 hit, reaching No. 29 in the Billboard 100 on March 16, 1985, and receiving significant MTV airplay. It would remain the band's most popular song.


Lead guitarist Steve Lynch described "Turn Up the Radio" as "a last minute song that RCA didn't even want on the album because they thought it had no commercial value." However, the band firmly insisted and were granted its inclusion. According to Lynch, Autograph didn't expect great commercial success for the song or the band in general because of their disillusionment with the music industry.[1] Lynch also reflected that, although the song was never a personal favorite, he always appreciated its strong hook, commercial appeal, and "lyrics that were right for the times."[2]

A demo version of the song appears on the band's "odds and ends" collection entitled Missing Pieces wherein it has a slightly different chorus. The demo version, along with the song's "alternate electric" and "acoustic" versions, also appears on the band's "The Anthology" album which is a merge of the two albums Missing Pieces and Buzz.


"Turn Up the Radio" was used in the Miami Vice episode "Little Prince" in 1984. It also played in the opening credits of the 2010 comedy film Hot Tub Time Machine which centers around 1980s pop culture.

The song was featured on the soundtrack of the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the fictional radio station VRock. "Turn Up the Radio" was also used in the role-playing video game Alpha Protocol as incidental music during a boss fight against a 1980s-obsessed Russian mafioso.

In addition, the song has appeared on a plethora of (primarily 1980s) music compilations, including not only those of an explicitly hard rock/glam metal genre, but also more mainstream compilations, such as Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1985 and Top Groups of the Eighties.

Music video[edit]

The song's music video gained significant airplay in the early days of MTV.

Set in a 1980s technological future, the video opens with the band walking into a theater hall through an automated door. A RoboCop-like figure points, saying "sign in please", a direct reference to the album on which the song appears. In a blatant instance of product placement, a ray of light reveals a PaperMate Sharpwriter mechanical pencil, which had been released earlier that year. Using the pencil, the band members provide their signatures next to their names (listed along with their respective musical instruments) on a paper during which the pencil's name is prominently featured. Drummer Keni Richards writes an X, which sets off an error alarm; Keni then erases it and proceeds to put the pencil in his hair. The band is then seen performing the song to a crowd. The video ends with Autograph boarding a limousine resembling a DMC DeLorean by its gull wing doors. Lead vocalist Steve Plunkett throws the pencil to one of the female fans before leaving. The cyborg hand at the steering wheel turns out to be the robot from the start of the video, and the final shot reveals the robot's head as the door closes.

The product placement was the band's manager's idea: she thought that the band's name and the album title "Sign In Please" presented a natural opportunity for a promotional deal with a pen-and-pencil company.[3] In exchange for the prominent appearance of the pencil, the company helped fund the video — which was the band's first, and "a much more expensive video than the average new band" according to Plunkett — and also provided other financial support.[3]

Awards and accolades[edit]

The song was ranked No. 93 on VH1's Top 100 Hard Rock Songs[4] and was named an AMG Track Pick by Allmusic.

In 1985, Guitar Player magazine awarded Steve Lynch "Guitar Solo of the Year" for his work on "Turn Up the Radio."[1]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
Billboard Hot 100 29
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 17


  1. ^ a b Autograph Guitarist / Guitar Teacher Steve Lynch FullinBloom.com. Retrieved on 7-01-11.
  2. ^ My Interview With Steve Lynch – Original Guitarist For Autograph GlamRock.com (2009). Retrieved on 7-01-11.
  3. ^ a b Hunt, Dennis (April 18, 1985). "A Tour-toughened Autograph Signs In With The Write Stuff". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "spreadit.org music". Retrieved February 4, 2009.

External links[edit]