Friday, October 31, 2014

Autograph - Sign In Please

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Sign In Please, the debut album from the Los Angeles hard rock band Autograph. It spent twenty-nine weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 29.

The band roster consisted of Steve Plunkett (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Steve Lynch (lead guitar), Steven Isham (keyboards and backing vocals), Randy Rand (bass and backing vocals) and Keni Richards (drums).

Side one starts with “Send Her to Me”, the album’s second single. Here a guy is ready to step in and treat a lady the way she should be.

“Turn Up the Radio” was the band’s first smash hit single. It almost did not make the cut for the album though, having been recorded near the end of the sessions. The band insisted it be included and it, along with a liked video on MTV, helped the album soar up the charts. The single went to number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. This loud rocking anthem was a big favorite at parties on campus my sophomore year; it has a pounding beat and an in-your-face attitude that rowdy drunk college students loved to sign along to.

The rollicking “Night Teen & Non-Stop” tells of a female teenaged hellion who tears up the town after dark.

“Cloud 10” starts with a trippy opening before settling into a steady rhythm. The lyrics project the attitude of being the best of the best.

“Deep End”, with its searing guitar solo, is a respectably rocking request for help. It reminds me a bit of AC/DC.

Side two begins with “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me”, a cautionary tale about discovering a cheating lover. The title is a creative one, and the drumbeats are relentless.

The mid-tempo “Thrill of Love” was selected for the B-side to the first single,

“Friday” is a fun party tune that celebrates the arrival of the weekend.

The mid-tempo “In the Night” reveals the hidden hopes and heartbreaks of a lonely young lady.

The closing track “All I’m Gonna Take” was also the B-side to the second single. It opens with some cascading keyboards and a rising guitar rhythm.

Autograph had a decent 80’s rock sound that was a bit lighter than some of their fellow LA musicians (Mötley Crüe, Ratt, etc.). Still, Sign In Please is a solid debut. This was my first pass at the whole record, and I liked it well enough. Go give it a listen on Spotify and turn the volume way up when you do.

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