History


ROCKETS history starts in Paris (France), in the year 1972, when they were known under the name CRYSTAL and played mostly in pubs. On stage, they appeared as human beings, not space aliens, (with normal clothes on, and long hair). It is still unknown whether or not they'd recorded anything in this incarnation.

In 1974, they changed their name to ROCKET MEN (or ROCKETTERS) and, thus, five aliens, bald, with grey eyes (contact lenses), silver skin and space suits make their first apparition in Europe, recording the single 'Rocket Man' (both instrumental and sung version) produced by Claude Lemoine, who would become their producer 'til 1983.

Later that same year, in France, another single entitled, 'Rocket man', was released featuring the same versions of the title track (produced by Mike Oliver); the band name was still ROCKETTERS but this was probably not them, because this one featured a female voice and the instrumentation was way different (less electronic).

In 1975, they finally changed their name in ROCKETS and recorded a new single (only in France), 'Future woman'; this early version is different from the one that would later be included in their first LP; the B-side includes a non-album track, 'Sexy planet'.

Still in 1975, they released (in a handful of countries) a single, 'Samourai', also not included on any of their future albums, backed with 'Fils du ciel'.

In 1976, their first LP entitled, 'Rockets' was released in France, and the group launched a series of phantasmagoric live shows which involved vocoder, lasers, coloured lights, smoke and a bazooka fighting flames three meters long, gaining immediate success in France and later abroad.
In 1977, they took part in the 'Festival di Pesaro' show and made their first appearance on Italian TV.
In this period, Bertin Hugo, who would appear in a crash-helmet, in order to avoid cutting his hair, played keyboards.  In 1977 and 1978, that same album was published in other countries; the Spanish cover differs from the others because there's a live picture taken from their first live show in Italy at the 'Teatro Lirico' in Milan (November 1977).
Tracks included, as well as the order in which they appear differ  respectively; the Italian one includes 'Future woman' (long version), replacing the Schubert's 'Ave Maria' cover and the cover of 'Apache' an old hit by the SHADOWS.

The following LP 'On the road again' (1978), is released, amongst all other LPs, in the large number of countries; the title is taken from the hit song of the same name that was made popular by a group called CANNED HEAT - a big hit at the end of 60s.
The American version was released on the Tom n'Jerry label, hence the goofy name on the cover, "Tom'n'Jerry's Rockets" (apparently printed so that people wouldn't confuse them with Detroit's own rock'n'roll band of the same name, albeit a decidedly more straight-forward and less-futuristic one); the American version also differs, from the others, both in the mix (notably, the title track and 'Space rock') as well as in the order of tracks.
Very interesting are the 'On the road again' promo mixes from the USA (pressed on trasparent blue vinyl) and Spain (with picture sleeve), as well as the German single, with a different picture on cover.
In that year, they toured North America (USA and Canada), while in Italy, the album remained in the hit-parade almost for a year.

In 1979, a compilation album, entitled 'Sound of the future', was released only in Italy; it contains a complete version of 'Space rock' and 'Future woman', as well as 'Don't be sad' and 'Atomic control' not released on any other LPs.

The next album, 'Plasteroïd', in 1979, helped ROCKETS strengthen their success and reputation in Spain and Germany. In Italy, on the strength of this album alone, they reached the 'gold disc' status (200,000 copies sold) before the album was sold (only with reservations in shops); every music and non-music magazine, responded to this sudden burst of their popularity with numerous articles, interviews and photographs.
In France, 'Plasteroid' was also released as a picture disc (perhaps the most valuable piece of vinyl and surely the most beautiful one to be possessed by a collector!); the subsequently released single contains a different mix of 'Electric delight'.

'Live' (1980), was released only in Italy, and was not a full-fledged, wholesome concert record per se, as parts of it were recorded on different dates of the 'Plasteroïd' tour; it contains a few famous hits and also two interesting solos, first on the drums ('Drum solo', augmented at times by keyboards) and second - on guitar ('Guitar visions').
This album is usually one of the most difficult ones to find, although there have been two different reprints of it.

According to many critics, and also to ROCKETS themselves, the following album 'Galaxy' (1980), is their best album ever, and in Italy, for example, it was tremendously successful; this was the album that helped the band reach the absolute peak of their fame.
The album sold a lot of copies and ROCKETS gained the 'platinum disc' (1,000,000 copies) and was followed by a gigantic 200-date tour; Taranto show (Italy) was broadcasted on TV.
On the French release, the track 'Galactica' was replaced by the same song in French ('Galactica, la femme de metal').

With '¶ 3,14', in 1981, which featured an active collaboration with a few members of VISITORS, they changed their public appearance; not only 'space men' were in the act now, but also wizards, 'doctors', cowboys, motorcyclists and so on.
This album featured female vocals, Chantal Ricci singing on 'Ideomatic', as well as a computerized drum for the first time; next year, a remix of this track was included in the compilation by various artists, 'Popcorn'.
The only single taken from the LP was 'Radiate / King of the universe'  released exclusively in Spain.
A great number of mags announced that in the new live show ROCKETS would fight on stage with VISITORS in a real musical battle and the tour would expand into North America where they would have to change their name to SILVER ROCKETS to avoid being confused with the aforementioned Detroit band; unfortunately both rumours turned out to be unfounded.
The group's 1981 shows featured thus-far unreleased tracks, 'Future Game' (released next year on the new album) and 'Don't stop' (which remains unreleased).
Years later, the ROCKETS would admit that this was not a winning move.

In the Spring of 1982, their newly-launched single 'Radio station / Star vision', presented at the 'Saint Vincent' show (Italy) brought them a good amount of success; same tracks were to be included, in remixed versions, in their next album.
A few months later, another album, 'Atomic', was released - the last album recorded by the real ROCKETS (the 'Silver Men' suits and the all-original lineup); although the album still retained a 'Rockets' style, both the press and people started to ignore them and their popularity suddenly plummeted.
A German pressing of the 'Future game / Atomic' maxi-single (remix), features a different picture sleeve from Italian one.
In the beginning of 1983, a transparent yellow vinyl featuring remixed versions of 'Some other place, some other time' and 'Atomic' was released in Italy, while in the USA, a special DJ mega-mix, which featured tracks from various artists, including a remixed, extended version of 'Atomic' was released.

The first really traumatic change (for all fans) took place in 1984, when producer Claude Lemoine, the "6th Rocket", and their companion since the beginning, abandoned the band, Christian Le Bartz left the stage, becoming the group's 'road manager' instead, and Alain Groetzinger left the ROCKETS altogether.
SAL SOLO, ex-leader of CLASSIX NOUVEAUX, joined ROCKETS (in France, Spain and Germany called ROK-ETZ for contractual reasons), and this lineup recorded the new album, 'Imperception'.
The changes in the band led also to a change in their appearance, still bald, yet no longer silver, simple humans (not aliens) wearing futuristic costumes (designed by Victor Togliani, who had already designed VISITORS' costumes, but also worked as a painter, sculptor and illustrator, an expert in SCI-FI and figurative arts), no longer 'space-men'. Also the style of music changed towards that of most British pop bands of that period (less electronic and more soft dance).
'Under the sun' video clip was used as a final 'autograph' tune in the Italian 'Festival di San Remo' show.  Especially interesting is the German mix of this song, which appeared as a maxi-single, pressed on green vinyl (with white veins).
The track 'Contact', included in the album, was included next year (although a different version), in the solo album by SAL SOLO 'Heart & soul'.

In 1986, the group recorded 'One way' and changed their name to ROKETZ (or ROK-ETZ out of Italy). 'Little' Gherard L'Her left the band, as he did not agree with the band's newly undertaken direction. The name change marked a definitive change also in their music style (even more British than before) and look (the hair and more fashionable suits).
The single 'Don't give up' (featuring both instrumental and remixed versions) was released simultaneously with the new album; in Germany - the single sleeve, different from the Italian one, featured ROKETZ members' photos (A. Maratrat, F. Quagliotti and S. Solo).

After a seven years' silence, their next album, called 'Another future', was finally released in 1992, albeit, only in Italy, on CD and LP , featuring all-new tracks, as well as a few old ones - remixed. The style is a mixture of dance and rap, but there are also a few tracks done in the traditional 'Rockets' style!
Unfortunately this piece of work wasn't advertised, hence it didn't reach the hit charts; there was no announcement of their forthcoming TV appearances and concerts; and there were fewer magazine articles dedicated to them (only a handful of reviews).
Remixed versions of 'Dancing' and 'Wake up!' - tracks from the album - were released on a single.

Also in 1992, a CD compilation, entitled 'Galactica', was pressed; this one included tracks from the group's LPs published between 1980 and 1984.

In 1992 and 1993, Alain Maratrat participated in the writing and recording of material on two CDs by  French kid prodigy JORDY (only 4 years old!) produced by his father Claude Lemoine (Rockets' old producer - see above), entitled 'Pochette surprise' and 'Potione magique', from which were a few single mixes and even a video were culled . The single 'Dure dure d'être bébé' was very successful in France, Italy and many other countries reaching the top in a few hit parades.

In February 1996, at the 'Festival di San Remo' show (Italy), members of the band ELIO E LE STORIE TESE appeared on stage sporting the classic 'Rockets' look.

In 1996 also, two double CD compilations ('Greatest hits' and 'Hits & remixes') were released, the first one - also on vinyl - including the best ROCKETS material from 1976 to 1982; and the second one - all of the 'Greatest hits' tracks, plus 6 remixes (done in 1996) of more famous numbers. A few remixes have also been included on many other singles in many variations; the original versions of 'On the road again / Galactica' and 'Future woman / Space rock' have been reissued on maxi-single.

November Friday 28, 1997 Fabrice Quagliotti has appeared live in front of an audience, during one of the evening performances at his music pub, 'l'ultimo caffè', playing the undying 'Venus rapsody' using the legendary 'mini-moog' (keybord used in the majority of numbers in ROCKETS discography).

In January 1999 Fabrice Quagliotti pub has been sold; Saturday 30 January, Fabrice Quagliotti played for the last time and from that day on he won't be there any more.

In April 1999 Alain Maratrat and Fabrice Quagliotti agreed for a meeting in a recording studio but cause the respective commitments it didn't happen.

In May 1999 the TV show 'Fratelli nella Notte', broadcasted on Tele Nord channel, dedicated a special to the ROCKETS and Fabrice Quagliotti took part with a phone call, in October the TV show Meteore, broadcasted on Italia 1, remembered the ROCKETS with a few images and an interview to Fabrice Quagliotti.

Sal Solo continues his musical career, concerned with Christian music and has just published a new CD titled 'Pilgrimage', a gospel best, and continues with his public appearances in North America where he has moved in the last months.

In October 1999 was released in France, Belgium and Canada a mix record titled 'Future love' by a group called Brahama. It includes a few remix of the original version of 'Future woman'; the operation was done without ROCKETS authorization. Anyway the song had an immediate success so it was also published onto CD and a video clip was realized for clubs and discothèques.

The year 2000 starts with great news about the band. In January has been released in Italy a compilation (On the road) that includes pieces from 1977 to 1982 but all are versions formerly released . The print and distribution has been done without authorization from the holder of the copyrights and although the sale has been forbidden it is still on the market. The booklet includes a few meaningless photos, 'stolen' from the ROCKETS Home Page.

Fabrice Quagliotti and L.B.M.The January 2000 is an historical date because thanks to the meeting by Fabrice Quagliotti and L.B.M. borns the project to bring ROCKETS back on musical scene after 8 years of silence.

After the success of 'Future love' song by Brahama in the previous months, in February is printed, in Italy and Germany, a mix record including new remixed versions of 'Future love'. This time the title of the song is 'Future woman (Future love)' and the record is distributed using the name 'ROCKETS/BRAHAMA'. Record had a good success and a lot of playing in radio stations and discos.

The issue number 110, April 2000, of the monthly italian magazine RARO! (dedicated to record collecting and music) published a 6 pages article with ROCKETS career and italian discography, written by Simone Giudici and Marcello Barigazzi.

ROCKETS N.D.P.May 2000: after the work made in the first months of the year, the ROCKETS are back with a new lineup! Fabrice Quagliotti and Alain Maratrat, members of the band from the beginning, together with L.B.M and other musicians are working for a new project: the ROCKETS N.D.P. Alain Groetzinger and 'Little' Gerard L'Her will support the project too. A disco mix including the tracks 'Gamastasis' and 'Endless blue', in more versions, is available in the italian shops on vinyl format. The record has been printed in a very limited amount of copies both as normal black vinyl and as a picture disc; the release of the CD, planned in the beginning of the project, was never realized due to problems with production and distribution. ROCKETS N.D.P Web site is activated at the address: http://digilander.iol.it/rocketsndp.

In October 2000 the shops start the selling of the official double compilation 'The Definitive ROCKETS Collection' including the best ROCKETS tracks and a rich illustrated booklet with more than 20 pages that is a tribute to group greatness.

In the year 2001 there are no events worthy of consideration with the exception of the publishing in Germany of a double vinyl including additional versions of the 'Future womn (Future love)' song, always distributed with name 'ROCKETS/BRAHAMA'.

ROCKETS N.D.P.In May and June 2002, ROCKETS N.D.P. collaborate with the producer and sound engineer Matteo Cifelli and disc-jockey Andrea Piras, aka Piraz, and realized a few remix, one of which for the song 'Future woman', that will be played in August in Ibiza discothèques. Unfortunately due to some bureaucratic complications these experimentations will never see the light as commercial products.

December 2002, preceded by a few announcements on sites and Web portals, radio stations and discothèques has started the programming, in Italy, of 'On the road again 2003 JTV remix' realized with the help of Joe T. Vannelli, famous italian disc-jockey and producer.

January 17th 2003 is published a single, on vinyl support and CD, that includes a few versions of 'On the road again'. The sale was an immediate success.After 48 hours all the records were sold out, and immediately started a reprint. The reprint is interesting for collectors bacause the cover of mix records is lucid compared to the first press. The record was number one in the sale hit list of the italian magazine 'Musica e dischi' (prestigious magazine that looks at musical market).

For more details about the single you can visit the appropriate section dedicated to: 'On the road again 2003'.

The Rocket Man during a visit to ROCKETS in the recording studiosIn January 2003 ROCKETS strongly worked in italian recording studios to record and mix the new songs for the forthcoming album. In the second week of January I visited the ROCKETS during their works and I attended to the mixing of the track 'Time to go'. I can only give a comment on this: Fantastic! I'm sorry I can't publish their images as a preview so as a proof of the news I put here a photo taken by them to me for the event!

March 2003, recording and mixing sessions of the new album is finished; ROCKETS are now working to the last touch up.

March 6th 2003 during the night party 'SupalovaClub' at the Old Fashion Cafè in Milan has been played, for the first time, the new version of Galactica by Joe T. Vannelli, broadcasted also on RIN (Radio Italia Network). It is not available on the market yet.

March 29th 2003 at 9.00 p.m. in Marzabotto (BO - Italy), at the 'teatro comunale', the Universal Band, ROCKETS french group tribute band, performed live in a show that recreate the atmosphere and music of ROCKETS, with costumes, lights and laser effects. At the show attended more than 200 fans and guest star were Fabrice Quagliotti and Alain Groetzinger, ROCKETS former members and L.B.M new ROCKETS singer.

At the end of the great show, Alain and Fabrice acclaimed by the audience went on the stage playing the timeless 'Venus rapsody' together with the Universal Band; more than twenty years have passed without seeing Alain and Fabrice playing together on stage.
The song has been followed by an exciting 'Drum solo' by Alain that accompanied the Universal Band in playing the track 'Universal band' that ended the triumphal concert.

From May 6th are available in the shops two vinyl mix records and a CD including more versions of Galactica. At the same time starts the TV transmission of Galactica video clip.

For more details about the availability of the single and video broadcast visit the section dedicated to 'Galactica 2003'.

The day 13 May 2003 the ROCKETS have signed with Sony Music the agreement for the distribution of the new album DON'T STOP.

Radio Italia Network the 24th of May, during the programme 'The Power of Love' broadcasted, as 'Disco House Power', an 'Electric delight' remix by Joe T. Vannelli. The song is available in a promotional vinyl released the 19th of June, that includes Joe T. Vannelli version and DJ Intrallazzi version.

The new and long waited album has been released in Italy Friday the 20th of June; outside of Italy it will be probabily available from September on.

The album was presented officially the 19th of June, in the club 'Punta dell'Est' in Milan during the Supalova Club night.

The new official ROCKETS site is active: HTTP://WWW.ROCKETSLAND.COM

The double CD compilation The Definitive Collection has been reprinted with a new packaging, a new organization of the booklet, new graphics and with a new title ROCKETS Original Greatest Hits. Tracks are the same as in the first press.

Saturday the 22th of June the ROCKETS performed on stage at EME 2003 (European Music Event TDK Awards) in Riccione (Rimini-ITALY). They played a 3 tracks medley (On the road again, Galactica and Electric Delight) and the new single 'Don't stop'.

From the 16th of July, has started the broadcast of the new video Don't stop, that you can see on satellite channel COUNTDOWN.

Sunday the 27th of July the ROCKETS partecipated at the event 'Moda e Musica' in Civitella del Tronto (TE - Italy) that has been recorded and will be trasmitted by italian TV channel Rete 4.

The ROCKETS attended at the event 'Insonnia dance festival' in Ischia (Italy) the 24th of August and the 13th of September performed in Erice (Italy) for the 'XIX premio internazionale della Venere d'argento'. The Erice show was recorded by RAI italian channel and will be trasmitted next days.

For 2004 events, visit the section dedicated to 'DON'T STOP'.

Back toROCKETS Homeplanet

1