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Encyclopedia entry for 'Wendy and the Rocketts' LETTER:

Formed in 1980
StyleRock
 Original line-up: Wendy Stapleton (lead vocals), Mark Chew (guitar, keyboards; ex-Southern Transit), Victor Crump (guitar; ex-Fastbuck), Wayne Sullivan (bass; ex-Fastbuck), Steve Donald (drums; ex-Fastbuck)
 Albums: Live (mini-album, Mushroom/Festival, 1982), Dazed for Days (Mushroom/Festival, 1983).

History
Singer Wendy Stapleton fronted a number of bands during the late 1970s (including Souled Out, Incession, Southern Transit and the Bill Livingstone Trio) before moving into session work. She signed a solo deal with Festival Records for the release of her debut single, a cover of The Rolling Stones' `Heart of Stone'/`I Need You' (September 1979). In August 1980, Stapleton formed Wendy and the Rocketts and hit the Melbourne pub rock trail.

Wendy and the Rocketts signed to the Mushroom label, and the original line-up listed above recorded the singles `Reputation'/`Let the Boy Go' (June 1981) and `Tonite'/`The Brighton Creeper' (September). `Reputation' peaked at #40 for one week during August. In March 1982, Stapleton launched a new Wendy and the Rocketts line-up with Steve Donald, plus newcomers Joey Amenta (lead guitar, vocals; ex-Taste, Redhouse, Russell Morris Band, Darryl Cotton Band), Adrian Dessent (rhythm guitar, vocals; ex-Scandal, Vixen, Marc Hunter Band) and Noel Beare (bass; ex-Misfits, Routinos). Dessent's previous band, Vixen, comprised Jann Baxter (vocals), Jude Owen (bass), Michael Elkington-Allen (keyboards) and Nick Thurm (drums). The band issued two independent singles, `Cover Up Job'/`Machine' (1980) and `I'm in Love Again'/`Do It Again' (1981), on the Alternative label (through Festival) before calling it quits.

Wendy and the Rocketts' third single, `Your Place or Mine?'/`In Your Eyes' (March 1982), reached #35 in Melbourne for one week during May. By that stage, however, the band had built-up a strong live following. The mini-album Live (September 1982) managed to capture some of the band's onstage excitement. In early 1983, Wendy and the Rocketts travelled to the UK to record their debut album Dazed for Days. The album appeared in July 1983. It gave rise to the singles `Play the Game'/ `I Can't Tell You (May), `Have You Been Telling Me Lies?'/`How Come You're Still Hanging Around?' (August) and `Security'/`Nightflyer' (November). `Play the Game' was a minor national hit (#28 in June) and the album went as high as #26.

The A&M label issued Dazed for Days in the UK and Europe, and in September 1983 Wendy and the Rocketts undertook a tour of those territories (which took in supports to Bryan Adams and ZZ Top). In November 1984, John Dallimore (ex-Redhouse, Dallimore, Jon English and the Foster Brothers) replaced Amenta (who joined Moving Pictures) and Brian Hamilton replaced Beare on bass. Wendy and the Rocketts toured into 1985, but no further recordings were forthcoming. With the break-up of the band in March 1985, Stapleton returned to session work.

In 1989, she appeared in the stage play Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom (alongside Daniel Abineri, Brian Mannix and Nadine Garner), which yielded the soundtrack of the same name. In 1990, Stapleton joined her spouse Paul Norton's (real name Paul McNaughton) backing band in support of his solo album Under a Southern Sky. Mark Greig (guitar; ex-Runners), Tim Millikan (bass; ex-Chantoozies) and Derek Pellici (drums; ex-Little River Band) completed the Paul Norton Band line-up. In 1995, Stapleton turned her talents again to musical theatre. She took the part of Dusty Springfield in the long-running Australian production of I Only Want to Be with You (The Dusty Springfield Story), which opened during May. Stapleton was a natural for the part, and she revived her role when the musical returned for a new season in July 1997.



Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd

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