Byzantium (band)

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GenresPsychedelic, psychedelic pop, psychedelic rock, psychedelic soul, soul, R&B
Years active1970–1975
LabelsA&M Records
Associated actsOra
Past membersSteve Corduner
Mick Barakan(Shane Fontayne)
Chaz Jankel
Robin Lamble
Nico Ramsden
Jamie Rubenstein

Byzantium were an English psychedelic music band of the 1970s who released three albums and performed one Peel Session. They are perhaps best remembered for their role in the early careers of Shane Fontayne, Chaz Jankel and Robin Sylvester.


Formed as a school band at UCS, Hampstead, London the original lineup included Nico Ramsden, Robin Lamble & Stevie Corduner who were soon joined by Chas Jankel. Robin Sylvester and Jamie Rubinstein, who were both also studying at UCS were both contributors at this time, Jamie by way of songwriting and Robin in his role of recording engineer, arranger and later joint producer.

Byzantium were due to play at the famous Greasy Truckers Party in February 1972, but could not appear due to a power-cut,[1] however, they were signed up by A&M Records.

In 1972 Lamble, Jankel, Ramsden and Corduner recorded Byzantium, engineered by Roy Thomas Baker and produced by Stuart Taylor & Robin Sylvester at Trident Studios, London, on which Rubenstein, Alan Skidmore (sax) and Frank Ricotti (timpani) appeared as a guests. Between the recording and the release of the album, Ramsden left, and Rubenstein and Barakan rejoined.[2]

The following album Seasons Changing featured Lamble, Jankel, Barakan, Rubenstein and Corduner, augmented by B. J. Cole on pedal steel, Ricotti on Percussion and David Hentschel and Sylvester on synthesisers. Jankel’s interest was moving towards soul music,[3] so he left, and shortly after A&M dropped Byzantium.

In 1974 they recorded Live and Studio with a band line up comprising Jamie Rubenstein on 12 string guitar, guitarist Mick Barakan (later known as Shane Fontayne), bassist Robin Lamble and drummer Steve Corduner.[4] The album, comprising one side of 5 studio tracks and one of 3 live tracks, predominantly in a psychedelic style, was self produced as a promotion, the back cover stating "Byzantium are seeking a hard working agency, recording company & publishing company".[5] Only 100 were pressed, making it extremely collectable,[2] and although "fans considered it their best set, ..... few were actually in a position to know".[4]

The band played their only Peel Session in April 1974,[6] by which time their line up was Rubinstein, Barakan, Lamble and Corduner. Byzantium continued touring until late in 1975 when they played their final concert at The Roundhouse.[7]

The Irish Byzantium[edit]

This 1970s English band should not be confused with the Byzantium formed in Galway, Ireland in 2006, who won the Witless ‘07 "Battle of the Bands" competition.[8]

Subsequent careers[edit]



  • "Oh Darling" / "Move with the time" 1971
  • "Flashing Silver Hope" 1971
  • "Suzie Bumkins Griddled Fiddle" 1972
  • "What a Coincidence" / "My Season’s Changing with the Sun" (A&M) 1973


  • Live and Studio (Private Pressing) 1974 Re-released on CD (Arkama) 2005, with 4 bonus tracks
  • Byzantium (A&M) 1972
  • Seasons Changing (A&M) 1973


  1. ^ Sleevenotes to CD re-release of Greasy Truckers Party
  2. ^ a b Joynson, Vernon (2006). The Tapestry of Delights Revisited. Borderline Productions. pp. 136 & 625. ISBN 1-899855-15-7.
  3. ^ Brewster, Bill. "Interview with Chas Jankel 2002". Originally published in "Faith" Reproduced on Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b Greene, Jo-Ann. "Review of CD Re-Release of Live and Studio". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Cover photo of Vinyl edition of Live & Studio". 991. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Peel Session for Byzantium". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  7. ^ Riekels, H.T. "Biography of Byzantium". Prog Archives.
  8. ^ "Last FM Entries for "Byzantium"". Last FM. Archived from the original on 13 August 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  9. ^ "Credits for Steve Corduner". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  10. ^ "Credits for Shane Fontayne". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Credits for David Hentschel". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  12. ^ "Credits for Chas Jankel". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Credits for Robin Lamble". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Cretits for Nico Ramsen". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  15. ^ "Credits for Robin Sylvester". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.