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 Jim Sawyers, bassist Bob Gonzalez, and drummer John Duckworth, the predecessors to the Syndicate of Sound were groups called the Pharoahs and Lenny Lee & the Knightmen. After recording an unsuccessful single for the Scarlet label, on January 9, 1966, Syndicate of Sound recorded "Little Girl" at a studio in San Francisco for Hush Records; it became a regional hit in California after San Jose radio stations 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 was pushed out of the band, and the group hired Jim Sawyers instead. When they flew to New York that summer, it was with Sawyers, and since Bell Records was anxious to get their group on the road, 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 theater show in San Francisco. After drummer Duckworth was drafted at the height of the Vietnam conflict, the band went through several other changes from its original lineup and recorded three singles at the end of 1969, "You're Lookin' Fine" (a Kinks cover), "Brown Paper Bag," and "Mexico." After Baskin moved to Los Angeles in 1970, he and Gonzalez -- the only other remaining original member of the band -- mounted an unsuccessful attempt at recording another album for Capitol Records in 1970, and then disbanded.~ Richard Skelly