12 Songs, 43 Minutes


About Bob Gonzalez

Bob Gonzalez was born on February 14, 1947, in San Jose, CA. Having mastered the sax in school, he was asked to join his first rock band called the Pharoahs around 1960-1961, followed by Lennie Lee and the Nightmen in 1963. As a result, Gonzalez's interest turned from sax to bass and joined a surf band for a time until he and high school buddy Don Baskin formed another group called Syndicate of Sound in 1964, bringing into the mix some of their former bandmates. The group consisted of bassist Gonzalez, Don Baskin on sax and vocals, John Duckworth on drums, guitarist/keyboardist John Sharkey, and lead guitarist Larry Ray. The band recorded its first single in 1965 as the result of winning the Vox Bay Area Battle of the Bands. The record, "Prepare for Love," went largely unnoticed, but they followed up with another, which was a collaborative effort written by Gonzalez and Baskin called "Little Girl." The song immediately caught on with the San Jose DJs and quickly spread through the airwaves around the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area. Bell Records out of New York got wind of this and offered Syndicate a recording contract, which meant having to record an entire album. Since "Little Girl" was already picking up steam, they had to work quickly. They were given three weeks to write, arrange, and record more than a dozen songs with a recording budget of 1,500 dollars. They somehow managed to pull it off even in the face of a personnel change that found guitarist Larry Ray being shown the door in favor of Jim Sawyers. Bell got behind the band promotionally by putting them out on tour with hit acts like, the Young Rascals, the Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, and many other greats. "Little Girl" started climbing the charts and eventually peaked at number eight in Billboard Magazine.

Gonzalez's efforts paid off enormously and made Syndicate a group of nationally acclaimed rock stars, but without a follow-up single of the same caliber as "Little Girl," the national appeal would soon die down. In an attempt to sustain their success, the band released three more singles, but none would be charted. This, along with Duckworth's call to arms, caused some of the members to start dropping out, leaving only Gonzalez and Baskin of the original five. The pair replaced the absent members to keep the band alive and struck a one-album deal with Capitol Records which proved unsuccessful, and the unit finally disbanded in 1970. For the next two decades, Gonzalez took leave from performing steadily, and instead focused on various business ventures, one of which was with Billbord Magazine. The agreement with Billboard consisted of making commemorative rings available to qualified artists, musicians, songwriters, and the like. Eligibility is established only if the artist is fortunate enough to have been involved in the recording of a certified Billboard Top Ten hit record. This unique concept, likened to Super Bowl rings, make it possible to reward all of the unsung heroes in music who would not otherwise have anything to show for their achievement.

Over the years, other artists have covered "Little Girl" such as England's the Banned, who made it a Top Ten hit again. the Divinyls made a video changing the gender to "Little Boy" which was played heavily on MTV, and Dwight Yoakam featured the song on his La Crox D'Amour album. Not too surprisingly, a new radio programming concept called classic rock was catching on and began kicking the dust off the hits of the 1960s up to current. "Little Girl," naturally, was among those getting significant airplay spurring on renewed interest in Syndicate. In 1990, Gonzalez and Baskin, along with Duckworth, put the band back together and have been doing occasional concerts ever since. In 1995, Gonzalez and company were informed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum that they were installing a plaque to be displayed in the museum citing "Little Girl" as a pivotal song in the history of rock & roll. Next to it is a tape-looped recording of "Little Girl" played at 20-minute intervals. ~ Tom Kealey