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Flashback Video: 'Turn Up the Radio' by Autograph

Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.

This issue we will cover "Turn Up the Radio" by Autograph. "Turn Up the Radio” was Autograph’s first single released in December of 1984 from their debut album, Sign In Please. The song would go on to be the band’s biggest hit receiving lots of airplay both on the radio and on MTV. The rock single peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in March of 1985. In 2009, VH1 included it at #93 on its list of “The 100 Greatest Rock Songs”. According to Steve Lynch from the band, the record label hated "Turn Up the Radio" and refused to put it on the album at first. Luckily, the band pushed hard and it was included at the last minute.

For the "Turn Up the Radio" music video, the band appears at a futuristic venue and sign in to a robot receptionist using a mechanical pencil. In a fairly blatant example 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. The product placement was a shrewd idea by the band's manager. 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. In exchange for the prominent appearance of the pencil, the company helped fund the video, which ended up being much more expensive than the average new band's debut video, as well as providing additional financial compensation.

I had the pleasure of an interview with Steve Lynch, the outstanding guitarist for Autograph, and here what he had to say about making the music video for "Turn Up the Radio"...

It was a lot of work…two 16 hour days! Olly Sassoon was the director and had most of the concept already in place. We added our tidbits along the way, while filming and in editing.

Check out the music video for "Turn Up the Radio" by Autograph...

You can find out more about Steve Lynch and Autograph in my interview, but here are the feelings he shared in regards to MTV and music videos in general...

I absolutely loved the fact you could put a visual to the bands that were playing your favorite songs. It gave it so much more depth and gave you an idea of what the individual personalities of the bands were like… from two dimensions to three.

Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!


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