Syndicate of Sound

Biography: Page 1

Formed in San Jose, CA in 1964, the Syndicate of Sound were one of the premier garage bands and forerunners of psychedelic rock, establishing a national following based on one massive 1966 hit, "Little Girl." Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Don Baskin, guitarist/keyboardist John Sharkey, lead guitarist Larry Ray, bassist Bob Gonzalez, and drummer John Duckworth, the predecessors to the Syndicate of Sound were groups called the Pharoahs and Lenney Lee and the Nightmen. After winning a Bay Area "Battle of the Bands," the Syndicate recorded an unsuccessful single for Del-Fi, "Prepare for Love". On January 9, 1966, the Syndicate of Sound recorded "Little Girl", penned by Gonzalez and Baskin, at a studio in San Francisco for Hush Records. It became a regional hit in California after San Jose radio station KLIV latched onto it, attracting the attention of executives at Bell Records in New York, who later asked the group to record an album.

"Little Girl" began to break nationally first in Oklahoma City, and the record entered Billboard Magazine's Top 40; just before the single broke, original guitarist Larry Ray left the band and was replaced by Jim Sawyers. Bell Records was anxious to get their group on the road; the Syndicate of Sound toured constantly for the latter half of 1966, taking time off to tape TV shows like "American Bandstand" and "Where The Action Is". James Brown, who appeared with them on one of the TV shows, was so impressed that he invited them to open his Cow Palace show in San Francisco.

Drummer Duckworth joined the 6th Army Band rather than risk being drafted, and was replaced by Carl Scott. The pressures of constant touring and the need for a second hit caused tension in the group that ended with Sharkey's leaving. As a four-piece group the Syndicate of Sound went back on the road and toured with a number of notable bands. They shared the stage with the Yardbirds, Mitch Ryder, Neil Diamond, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Association, ? and the Mysterians, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, the Left Banke, the Rascals and many others.

Little Girl topped out at number 8 on Billboard in May of 1966. The group recorded three additional singles up to the end of 1969, "You're Lookin' Fine" (a Kinks cover), "Brown Paper Bag," and "Mexico." Baskin - the only remaining original member of the band - moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and mounted an unsuccessful attempt at recording another album for Capitol Records in 1970, after which he disbanded the group.

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