Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Rockets - 1977 - Love Transfusion

The Rockets
Love Transfusion

01. Fast Thing In "D"etroit 2:54
02. Fell Out Of Love 4:45
03. My Heart Needs You 5:33
04. Lookin' For Love 2:55
05. I Got To Move 3:16
06. Ramona 4:25
07. Fly Little Bird 5:02
08. Love Transfusion 2:44
09. She's A Pretty One 4:21

Bass – John Fraga
Drums, Vocals – John (The Bee) Badanjek
Guitar, Vocals – Jim McCarty
Guitar, Vocals, Talkbox – Dennis Robbins
Lead Vocals – Dave Gilbert
Piano, Organ, Clavinet – Marc Marcano
Backing Vocals – Brandye

The Rockets were formed in 1972 by former Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels members Johnny "Bee" Badanjek and Jim McCarty. Vocals and drums were handled by Badanjek, McCarty was on lead guitar, John Fraga was on bass and Marc Marcano was on keyboards. Johnny Bee was the driving force and primary songwriter for the Rockets.

In the early days, The Rockets paid their dues playing gigs at venues such as The Rainbow Room in Detroit, The People's Ballroom in Ann Arbor, and The Rock 'N Roll Farm in Wayne, Michigan.

The band took on a new sound in 1976 when David Gilbert was brought in by new manager Gary Lazar, who also managed Detroit RCA Victor recording artist Dan Schafer, to take over vocals from Johnny Bee and Donnie Backus took over on keyboards. Gilbert had fronted several bands and was one of several lead singers that passed through the ranks of Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes. In 1971, he toured with them for a year and a half before forming Shadow which led to a record deal with RSO Records.

The Rockets made five studio albums that produced several minor hits, including a rocking rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well", which made the Top 40.

Always a popular group in Michigan, The Rockets had gotten some attention outside of the state, but never really got the big break to become a true national act. The first album, Love Transfusion, was released in 1977. During this period, they also opened some shows for Kiss. The album failed to produce any hits.

The 1979 self-titled release featured the hits, "Oh Well" and "Turn Up The Radio". This record also featured David Hood on bass, one of the "Swampers" from the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama. Muscle Shoals was mentioned in Lynyrd Skynyrd's southern rock anthem "Sweet Home Alabama". The album was dedicated to Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, who all perished in Skynyrd's infamous 1977 plane crash.

The third attempt came (with the addition of new bass player Dan Keylon) in 1980 with "No Ballads", "Desire" was a popular tune from this album. Next came the Back Talk album in '81 (with another new bass player, Bobby Haralson) and then finally Rocket Roll in 1982. "Rollin' By The Record Machine" from this release was the last hit for the band. The final release, Live Rockets, was recorded on December 26 & 29, 1982 to a sold-out house at the Royal Oak Music Theatre near Detroit. This was the first time the band recorded with back-up vocalists, Shaun Murphy and Suzy Jennings, who continued to tour with them.

The Rockets performed for their last two shows at Pine Knob near Detroit on August 28 & 29, 1983. The band splintered and the members all went their separate ways.