Paul Revere & the Raiders was a Sixties rock band from the Great Northwest that put fifteen records in the top forty from 1961 to 1971, as well as having their own television show for a time.
The group was formed in Boise, Idaho in 1959 as the Downbeats by keyboard player Paul Revere. Revere -- his real name -- had been born in Boise in 1942 (or possibly in Harvard, Nebraska, in 1938, according to at least one osurce). Along with sax player/vocalist Mark Lindsay (who was born in Cambridge, Idaho, in 1942, or in Eugene, Oregon, according to at least one source), they recruited others and began performing at various venues. They signed a contract with Gardena Records and came up with three instrumentals. The most successful of these was Like, Long Hair which barely cracked the top forty nationally, after they had changed their name to Paul Revere & the Raiders. But they were not able to follow up with anything substantial.
Revere and Lindsay disassociated themselves from the backing group and moved to Portland, Oregon. They recruited Drake "The Kid" Levin to play guitar, Philip "Fang" Volk for bass, and drummer Mike "Smitty" Smith. This group recorded a version of Louie Louie under the direction of DJ Roger Hart, but another version of the same song was recorded at almost the same time by another group form Portland, The Kingsmen. The Kingsmen's version went on to become a number two hit nationally and a rock-and-roll classic.
Paul Revere & the Raiders had a minor hit with Steppin' Out in 1965. Rock producer extraordinaire Dick Clark had plans to produce a television show to present an American version of Sixties rock that would counteract the British Invasion that was so predominant on the American music scene in the mid-60's, to be called Where The Action Is. He signed Paul Revere & the Raiders to appear on the show. They moved to Los Angeles in 1965 and began to dress in eighteenth century jackets and breeches which projected somewhat of an American Revolution image. Then came the group's first big hit, Just Like Me, in late 1965 on the Columbia label (all of their subsequent hits were released on Columbia). It was cover of a song by a group called Rick Dey and the Knights, which patterned itself after British Invasion group The Kinks, and went to number 11 for the Raiders.
As 1966 got under way, it was shaping up as a very good year from Paul Revere & the Raiders. They recorded two songs written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Kicks and Hungry, and both went top ten. The televison exposure helped, as Lindsay was presented as the frontman and lead singer for the group. Band members took to writing songs and producer Bruce Melcher -- the son of actress Doris Day -- was brought in to help. Lindsay and Melcher wrote two more songs that became big hits, The Great Airplane Strike and Good Thing, the latter another top ten entry. The hits kept coming in 1967 with Ups And Downs, I Had A Dream, and Him Or Me - What's It Gonna Be?, as well as some successful albums for the group that same year such as Just Like Us!, Midnight Ride, and The Spirit Of '67.
The music scene was changing in the late 60's. Paul Revere & the Raiders owed a lot of their success to their commercial appeal, but they tried to go along with the move toward progressive rock. In 1968 they had their own television show Happening '68. Recordings such as Too Much Talk, Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon and Let Me all made the top twenty but the appeal of the group was beginning to diminish somewhat. They shortened theri name to simply Raiders recorded a song by John D. Loudermilk titled Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian) which gave them their only number one hit, but ironically it did not come until after the Sixites had ended, in 1971. They followed with their final top forty entry later that year, Birds Of A Feather.
Paul Revere & theRaiders had a good run, and the group experienced numerous personnel changes over the years. The original backing musicians formed a group called Brotherhood in 1967. They were replaced by Freddy Weller on guitar, Charlie Coe on bass, and Joe Correro, Jr. on drums. Mark Lindsay recorded as a solo act in 1970, his most notable hit being the top ten Arizona, as well as a few others such as Silver Bird and You'Ve Got A Friend. Lindsay fit the mold of a Sixties teen idol quite well, but its day was gone by this time.
Paul Revere & the Raiders were a fine, entertaining 1960's rock band. Throughout their run Paul Revere and Mark Lindsay worked hard and saw the group through everything. The two ocntinued on the oldies circuit for many years, picking up various band members along the way. Lindsay at times has performed as a country act. The hit songs of Paul Revere & the Raiders were compiled on an album titled Kicks by Edsel in the United Kingdom, in 1983. The group never really entirely broke up, although it has undergone many personnel changes, and is still performing as this is written in 2011, often in Branson, Missouri or on tour.
Paul Revere & the Raiders are remembered for their many hits, particularly their four top ten hits from the Sixties Kicks, Hungry, Good Thing and Him Or Me - What's It Gonna Be?, as well as their sole number one Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian), from 1971.
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