Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn’t open, click the iTunes icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music by [?], download iTunes now.

Do you already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

Thunder Rocks

View in iTunes

To preview a song, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to buy and download music.


In the early days of White Detroit rock & roll, groundbreaking visionaries were few in number. There was rockabilly crooner Jack Scott, Danny Zella & the Zell Rocks, Johnny Powers, the Royaltones, and not much else. Add to that list a teenage instrumental combo called the Thunder Rocks. With Benny Cetlinski and Larry Skover on tenor and alto saxes (an early Motor City sound pioneered by Zella and the Royaltones), Bruce Penner and Jerry Pojeky on guitars and drums (no bass player in this early incarnation), the group did the local record hop circuit, working originally as the Black Diamonds. After working a number of hops with promoter Johnny Thunder, the group's name was changed to the Thunder Rocks and their first recording session produced the instrumentals "What's the Word" and "Johnny Sax" on the local Roselawn label. Hooking up with Dale Young, TV host of Detroit Bandstand, their debut 45 started to climb the local charts and a second single ("Rampage" b/w "Shadow") was recorded. But the 1959 payola scandal claimed Dale Young as one of its conquests, and the single was never released. With no promoter, the group disbanded for a short time, re-forming and reorganizing that fall with Tom Posniak on tenor sax replacing Cetlinski, Jerry Kowalski on drums replacing Cimino, and Pat LaRose on lead guitar and vocals. The remaining members did a bit of role shifting as well, with Pojeky moving to bass and Penner becoming the rhythm guitarist. More than just a local combo, the Thunder Rocks showed proto-entrepreneurial skills promoting their own dances (forming the Club 7-11 in 1963) and starting up their own label, Sabre Records, to release their recordings and those of other artists brought to their attention. Although they left behind only five singles (one of them a 1990 limited pressing) to show for their time together, the Thunder Rocks are nonetheless important to the developing history of Detroit rock & roll in a couple of distinct ways. They were the first band to realize that their small amplifiers didn't cut it in the big halls they played, and were the first Motor City combo to utilize big amps and massive volume to get the crowd's attention. During this period, the Thunder Rocks also gained renown as the first local band to incorporate choreography and wild stage moves into their presentation, going as far as inserting microphones in the bells of the two saxes, thus eliminating the need for standing stationary in front of floor mikes. This groundbreaking combination of volume and showmanship kept the band in demand until the mid-'60s, when changing trends and the draft had decimated their ranks, bringing to an end the story of one of Detroit's earliest -- and best -- rock & roll bands. ~ Cub Koda