Syndicate of Sound

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The Syndicate of Sound was an American garage band that existed between 1965 and 1970. Originally from San Jose, California, the band had an edgy style that some critics have considered to be a forerunner of psychedelic rock.


The band originally comprised: John Sharkey (b. June 8, 1946, Los Angeles) (vocals, guitar, keyboards); John Duckworth (b. November 18, 1946, Springfield, Missouri?) (drums); Bob Gonzalez (b. February 14, 1947, San Jose, California) (bass); Don Baskin (born October 9, 1946, Honolulu) (vocals, guitar & horns); Larry Ray (b. September 12, 1945,) (lead guitar). The Syndicate of Sound rapidly became popular in the San Jose/Bay area, and the next year won a "Battle of the Bands" competition against about 100 groups at the San Mateo Teenage World's Fair in California. The prize was a trip to L.A., a recording session at Bob Keene's Del-Fi Records, and some Vox equipment. The resulting single "Prepare For Love"/"Tell the World" was a double-sided hit from San Jose up to Medford, Oregon.

Baskin, Gonzalez and Sharkey continued to write new material and came up with "Little Girl" (Syndicate of Sound) and "You" (Syndicate of Sound) which the band recorded for Hush Records in San Francisco, January 9, 1966. "Little Girl" became a regional hit after San Jose radio station KLIV latched onto it, attracting the attention of Bill Gavin's tip sheet and then executives at Bell Records in New York, who released it nationally and offered the group a contract for an album. Replacing Larry Ray with lead guitarist Jim Sawyers, they wrote and recorded the LP in three weeks, and began a national tour appearing with other hit acts such as: Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Young Rascals, and the Yardbirds. "Little Girl" peaked at No. 8 on the Hot 100 on 9–16 July 1966 and No. 5 on Cashbox. The follow-up "Rumors" also hit the Hot 100 and peaked at No. 55 on 1 October 1966.

In an attempt to sustain their success, the band released more singles, like "Keep It Up" (Syndicate of Sound) but none of them charted. By this time John Duckworth had been drafted into the U.S Army and was replaced by Carl Scott on drums, and John Sharkey had left the group soon after "Mary" (Syndicate of Sound) was released. After another single "Brown Paper Bag" reached No. 73 on 25 April 1970, the group disbanded.

"Little Girl" was later recorded by other artists, including Dwight Yoakam and English pseudo-punk group The Banned - an offshoot of prog-rock band Gryphon - who reached the UK charts with it in 1977. The American punk group the Dead Boys included a live version on their 1977 debut album Young, Loud and Snotty. "Hey Little Girl", renamed "Hey Little Boy", was also covered by Australian band Divinyls in 1988 on their Temperamental album. R.E.M. played the song as part of its early live sets. The San Francisco Bay Area band CHOC'D also covers the song in their live sets, featuring "Sexy Rexy" on vocals.

The song "Little Girl" was also recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio since the day it was opened, where it is on permanent rotation in the One-hit Wonder section. In 1990, Baskin, Gonzalez and Duckworth reformed the band, which performed occasionally. In 2005, Larry Ray rejoined the band.[1]

In 2006, the Syndicate of Sound was in the first class of inductees into the San Jose Rocks Hall of Fame.[2]


  1. ^ Information from Syndicate of Sound website;
  2. ^

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