Graffiti was an American psychedelic rock band that released a 1968 self-titled album and the standalone single “He’s Got the Knack” on ABC Records.

Members: Tony Taylor (vocals), George Strunz (guitar), John St. John (guitar), Steve Benderoth (bass, keyboards), Richie Blakin (drums, percussion)


Graffiti had its roots in The Hangmen, a Washington DC garage band that moved to New York City and became The Collection, a psychedelic baroque-rock act with guitarist George Strunz and singer Tony Taylor.

Strunz (born Jorge Strunz in Costa Rica) moved as a child between Colombia, Mexico, Spain, England, and Canada before his family settled in the US. He studied classical and flamenco guitar from age 6 and spent his teens backing Spanish dancers before branching into rock.

The Collection cut the 1968 RCA Victor single “Paper Crown of Gold,” a windy number (in A minor) with staccato guitar, fluid bass, locomotive snare, and skating Farfisa; twice broken by a slow, dark bridge. The b-side is a harpsichord-laden take on “Aquarius” from the musical Hair, arranged with Association-style harmonies.

Months after that single, Collection singer Tony Taylor and guitarist George Strunz formed Graffiti with guitarist John St. John, bassist–keyboardist Steve Benderoth, and drummer Richie Blakin.

After Graffiti

George reverted to his birth name Jorge Strunz and formed Caldera, a Latin jazz-rock band that released the 1976–79 Capitol albums Caldera, Sky Islands, Time and Chance, and Dreamer. Upon their breakup, he teamed with Iranian guitarist Ardeshir Farah in the duo Strunz & Farah, which made twenty albums between 1982 and 2023 and backed Sting on his 1995 soundtrack to the IMAX nautical documentary The Living Sea.

Steve Benderoth drums on the 1972 Ovation Records release Comin’ Apart by singer Laura Yager. In 1978, he surfaced as a backing vocalist on Song of Wholeness, a spiritual album by Lamb’s Ministries singer–songwriter Judi Cochran. He plays a dual role as producer (under his own name) and bassist–singer (under the stagename Dwight Knight) on the 1979 Casablanca release by Lenny & The Squigtones, the fictional fifties rock band of characters Lenny (Michael McKean) and Squiggy (David Lander), the greaser pair on the 1976–83 ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley.

Both sides of the Collection single appear on Voyages Into…The Bottomless Pit (Vol. 3), a 27-track compilation of psychedelic rarities by archivists Voyages Records.


  • “He’s Got the Knack” / “Love In Spite” (1968)
  • Graffiti (1968)


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