Despite being renowned in certain parts of the world (especially in Italy and their hometown of Paris), the space-age outfit Rockets remains largely obscure -- even though they arrived on the scene at almost he same exact time as Kraftwerk and prefaced Devo by several years. The multi-membered outfit originally formed in 1972, under the name Crystal, performing on-stage in their regular street clothes. But by 1974, Crystal had evolved into Rocket Men, issuing a debut self-titled single, while its members began to assume the identities of aliens; complete with silver makeup covering their skin, grey contact lenses, space suits, and bald heads. It was also around this time that the group hooked up with producer Claude Lemoine, who would remain behind the studio boards until the early '80s. Over the next year, the group went through another name (Rocketters), before finally settling on Rockets, and issuing further singles, including such titles as "Rocket Man," "Future Woman," and "Samurai."
Come 1976, Rockets was finally ready to release a self-titled full-length debut (only available in France, however), as the band's theatrical live show began to take on a life of its own; complete with vocoders, lasers, colored lights, smoke, and flames. Rockets' sophomore outing, 1978's On the Road Again, turned out to be their first release to be available domestically (and the first to be supported by a North American tour), although their U.S. record label, Tom n' Jerry, insisted on printing their name on the cover, leading some to assume that the group was called "Tom n' Jerry's Rockets." An Italy-only compilation album, Sound of the Future, followed in 1979, the same year that the band issued their next studio album, Plasteroid, which became Rockets' biggest album yet (obtaining gold status, 200,000 copies sold, in Italy). 1980 saw the arrival of another Italy-only release, Live, as well as their fourth studio album overall, Galaxy, another massive hit in Italy (selling over a million copies) which many Rockets aficionados consider as the group's musical peak.
By the time of 1981's P-3,14, the group teamed up with another similarly styled outfit, Visitors, as new characters were introduced to Rockets' live act (including wizards, doctors, cowboys, and motorcyclists). Shortly thereafter, interest in Rockets began to dwindle; despite the masked outfit issuing several more albums, 1982's Atomic, 1984's Imperception, and 1986's One Way (the latter of which saw the group change the spelling of their name to "Roketz"), before going on hiatus for six years. By 1992, Rockets had reunited, issuing an album of new tracks and remixes of older tunes, Another Future, which failed to spark interest in the group once more (the same year, the very first Rockets hits collections surfaced, Galactica: The Best Of). 1996 saw the release of two more compilations, Greatest Hits and Hits & Remixes. Another set was released four years later, The Definitive Collection, which coincided with a pair of original bandmembers (Fabrice Quagliotti and Alain Maratrat) resurrecting the Rockets name with several new members. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
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