Among the groups claiming the title of the creators of the world’s first rock opera, The Syn, known to most music lovers, is that in it began their career as Chris Squire and Peter Banks.
The Syn were formed as a result of the merger of two London bands - High Court and The Selfs, who previously competed with each other for the title of the leading rhythm and blues group of Hampstead. From High Court there was a backbone - vocalist Steve Nardelli and guitarist John Painter, and from The Selfs came the rhythm section - Chris Squire (bass) and Martin Adelman (drums), plus organist Andrew Jackman. Under the influence of Andrew Jackman, the group mainly focused on the material Tamla Motown, which at that time was considered a rarity.
Over time, the structure has undergone significant changes. John Painter was replaced by Peter Banks, and Martin Adelman - Icelander Gunnar Hakenarson, who used to play in one of the leading Icelandic bands and came to London to try his hand at the European musical capital.
Under the direction of manager Kenny Bell, The Syn successfully auditioned at the Marki club and began to perform at this legendary institution every Thursday, supporting such giants as Pink Floyd, The Who, Cream and Jimmy Hendrix.
Under the influence of the more eminent colleagues, The Syn gradually began to write their own material, initially close to black music Motown (among these songs - the very “first rock opera” of Gangster Opera), but later stylistically shifted to the mood of the “summer of love.”
These new, breathing-time songs aroused the interest of the record company Decca, who invited The Syn to their new psychedelic Deram label. Unfortunately, it is unclear for what reasons the first single of the band, Created By Clive, was released almost at the same time as the similar forty-header The Attack, and, despite the fact that the versions are completely different, mislead listeners were not buying the record badly.
The second single, the band’s own composition, was the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream, which celebrated the famous psychedelic festival at Alexandra Palace, where The Syn also participated, and even got into the charts.
Perhaps the band’s most interesting work at that time - still not published by Flowerman Opera, the second attempt by The Syn to use this format to implement the idea is to write a big story into a rock product.
Unexpectedly for everyone at the end of 1967, agoraphobic sufferer Gunnar Hakenenson announced that he was leaving the group and returning to Iceland. This event was the first step on the way to the disintegration of The Syn, and although Hakenensohn found a competent substitute, the feeling of unity was lost.
One of the last performances of The Syn was the Windsor Rock Festival, organized by the club “Marki”. In one program with Small Faces, Animals, Move and Tomorrow, the band performed their Flowerman Opera before the crowd of fifty thousand.
After that, the group gradually split. Vocalist Steve Nardelli threw the show business and actively joined the fashion industry. Andrew Jackman, always gravitating to classical music, became an arranger, and Chris Squire and Peter Banks moved to the Toyshop group, and later became part of Yes.
In 2005, the album The Original Syn was released, which included the previously unreleased tracks of the band and several compositions, refined in 2003 by Steve Nardelli’s revived composition The Syn. Also there was an album with new material Syndestructible, sounding reminiscent rather Yes of the classical period without the slightest hint of psychedelia. Reunion was short-lived and now under the brand The Syn there is a new composition, typed by Steve Nardelli……….
Personnel: Steve Nardelli — vocals (01-08, 11-13) Chris Slater — vocals (09-10) Peter Banks — guitar (01-08, 11-13) John Wheatley — guitar (09-10) Chris Squire — bass Andrew Pryce Jackman — keyboards Gunnar Jokull Hakonarson — drums Martyn Adelman — drums (09-10) + Denny Ward — vocals (05) Ayshea — vocals (06)
Tracklist A1 –The Syn Grounded A2 –The Syn 14 Hour Technicolour Dream A3 –The Syn Flowerman A4 –The Syn Created By Clive A5 –The Syn The Last Performance Of The Royal Regimental Very Victorious And Valiant Band Vocals – Denny Ward (2) A6 –The Syn Mr White’s White Flying Machine Vocals – Ayshea* B1 –The Syn Flowerman (Demo) B2 –The Syn Merry-Go-Round (Demo) B3 –The Selfs I Can’t Explain (Demo) B4 –The Selfs Love You (Demo) B5 –The Syn Gangster Opera (Rehearsal) B6 –The Syn Sunset Boulevard (Demo) B7 –The Syn Cadillac Dreams (Demo)