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Erstwhile Rocket Artist Shares Memories With EJW

Written by Chief Editor.

In 1979, the Rocket Record company decided to put out an album of new bands called 499 2139. Hundreds responded, and a dozen bands (14 songs) were selected. These were recorded at Pathway Studios, with Peter Waterman (who then worked for Rocket) helping with production. One group, the Lambrettas, never sent in a demo, but Sally Atkins, one of the A&R people at Elton's record company, contacted them.

 
Frontman Doug Sanders shared further details with EJW. . . 
 
''We were added just in time to the album. One track was chosen as a single, and that was Go Steady by the Lambrettas. It got some airplay and got to 94 in the UK single charts. Although that sounds low, each single at that time was in competition with well over 500 others. We were then offered a 3 year deal. 
 
''We did not sign the contract with Elton himself; however over the years, we met many times at the record company; out for meals; parties and his house in London. Although he is considered to be a very flamboyant man, he was always down to earth, encouraging and really nice to us. He sent us a crate of pink champagne and a telegram when we first did Top Of The Pops!
 
''The next single we released was Poison Ivy and this reached no. 7 in the UK charts. Altogether with Rocket, we released eight singles. A couple were picture discs and a 12 inch version, and also two albums. The first album, Beat Boys in the Jet Age, peaked at #28. The second, Ambience, was beginning to see the 'mod revival' that we had been part of beginning to die down, and so although we stayed with Rocket for a little while after, we then disbanded for a while, and parted ways with Rocket and each other.
 
''We received a silver disc for Poison Ivy, and this was the first one that Pete Waterman (who was still involved with stuff we were doing) ever received! They were presented to us by the Radio 1 DJ Mike Read while we on stage at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street. Afterwards we went out for dinner with quite a few people from Rocket, including John Reid, who was one of Elton's Rocket partners. Eric Hall worked for Rocket Music, the publishing arm, and he took us under his wing at the time. He was always taking us out after gigs etc.
 
''We re-formed in 2009. Our original frontman had sadly passed away the year before and our bass player was in LA, but I moved over to do more of the singing than I had done before. Paul was back on drums, and we got a new guitarist and bass player. We still play a few songs from our first album, some new ones and sometimes a couple of covers/homages mostly to '60s bands. Although we sound more or less the same as we always were, we are somewhat more accomplished and experienced, and we also have a three-piece brass section. We play all over the UK, and occasionally in Europe, although obviously not currently!''
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