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They were South Africa's Beatles. Four boys from South Africa who happened to sell more records in their own country during the group's heyday than the Beatles themselves - unprecedented.
Rabbitt was formed back in 1968 under the name Conglomeration. The band consisted at the time of members Allen Rosenberg (guitar), Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Friedman (Robot) on bass and Trevor Rabin (guitar, vocals). This lineup; however, did not last long as Allen readily left the group shortly after, leaving the group as a trio. The remaining members went on to win the prestigious "South Africa's Battle of the Bands" . Trevor had recorded along with Ronnie's older brother, Errol (guitar) the Jethro Tull's song "Locomotive Breath" under the group name of Rabbitt. The song took off on the charts and remained there for 14 weeks. But the group broke up and Trevor joined the group, Freedom's Children, along with Ronnie Robot where they recorded the single "State of Fear". After the split, Trevor for a while played piano in a Greek restaurant.
Late 1973?, the lineup for Rabbitt consisted of Selwyn Schneider (first on drums, now on second guitar), Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Robot (bass), and Trevor Rabin (guitar, vocals). This lineup only lasted for a very short time as Selwyn decided to leave and formed his own band, Nexus.
The group started playing clubs around South Africa and finally settled on the Take It Easy club for the purpose of being able to play their own material. Soon word got out about the hot new band and lines started to stretch out from the club to down the block as their popularity grew. It was the beginning of Rabbittmania.
By the Spring of 1975, Duncan Faure (whose show was attended by Rabin, Robot and producer Patric Van Blerk) was asked to join the band as keyboardist. The group recorded their first LP "Boys Will be Boys" in 1975. All of the material except "Locomotive Breath" was original. The album earned them a gold record and a Sarie award for "Best Contemporary Music". Trevor and Patric Van Blerk also won Saries - the former for the arrangements on the album and the latter for the producing.
Word soon got out to the rest of the world about Rabbitt. There were talks about an overseas tour, however; that soon fell through due to political pressures outside the country. In 1976, Rabbitt released their second album, "A Croak & A Grunt in the Night" which went gold upon release. The group did a major tour of South Africa with sell-out concerts wherever they played. However, the members were beginning to feel the pressures of instant fame. Wherever they went, they were mobbed by adoring fans. They often made front page news and the people close to them began to try to gain control of the band. By 1977, disappointed that his chances for the group to grow outside South Africa were being diminished and with the various pressures mounting in the group, Trevor left the band leaving it as a trio. The remaining members recorded and released the group's last album, "Rock Rabbitt" (of which all the songs were written by Faure and of which earned them a gold record) but they soon disbanded while still being popular in their country.
Today the members of Rabbitt are scattered. Trevor went on to a solo/Yes/solo career. Duncan joined the Rollers and numerous other bands before going solo once again. Selwyn produces and records his own music. Allen Rosenberg was last traced to the group Peach under the alias Alan Rose. Lou Forer (session lineup of Rabbitt) joined the group Suck. Neil Cloud left the music business altogether after a brief solo stint and a 6 month tour with Peter Frampton and became a manager at his family's office furniture company. And Ronnie Robot became a producer, publisher, and business investor.
-T. H. Cutler
|All info supplied by fans, articles, various websites and musicians involved with members of the group.|