Rockit became a massive hit for the ever-innovating Herbie Hancock in 1983 for a number of key reasons (apart from it being a great tune).
Produced by Bill Laswell, it was one of the first commercial pop tracks to feature record scratching (by Grand Mixer DXT). This, in combination with a very cutting-edge MTV video (directed by Godley and Creme), greatly added to its commercial appeal and earned it five VMAs.
The synths Herbie used to play the Rockit main theme still remain a mystery to us but rumour has it that Herbie was using a Synclavier (FM plus samples plus synthesis), a Rhodes Chroma, a Fairlight, various Oberheim synths and a Prophet-5 around this time.
Listen: Herbie Hancock - Rockit
How to get the sound
To make the preset we’ve gone for Logic’s ES2, combining two medium-width pulse waves with a sawtooth wave (with detuning between the oscillators). We also added in some of the sine oscillator for added body, a bit of flanging and the fastest attack that was possible on the envelopes. All things considered, this gets pretty close to the sound on the record, but only Herbie has the recipe.