Paul Revere & The Raiders

Early yearsPaul Revere and the Raiders

Initially based in Boise, Idaho, the Raiders began as an instrumental rock outfit led by organist Paul Revere (born Paul Revere Dick in Harvard, Nebraska, on January 7, 1938). In his early 20s, Revere owned several restaurants in Caldwell, Idaho and first met singer Mark Lindsay (born March 9, 1942, Eugene, Oregon) while picking up hamburger buns from the bakery where Lindsay worked (this circumstance was later referred to in the tongue-in-cheek song “Legend of Paul Revere”). Lindsay joined Revere’s band in 1958. Originally called The Downbeats, they changed their name to Paul Revere & The Raiders in 1960 on the eve of their first record release for Gardena Records. The band scored their first Pacific Northwest hit in 1961, with “Like, Long Hair”. The song had enough national appeal that it peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard charts on April 17, 1961. When Revere was drafted for military service, he became a conscientious objector and worked as a cook at a mental institution for a year and a half of deferred service, while Lindsay pumped gas in Wilsonville, Oregon. Lindsay, on the strength of their Top 40 single, toured the U.S. in summer 1961 with a band that featured Leon Russell filling in for Revere on piano.

By summer 1962, Revere and Lindsay were working together again in Oregon with a version of The Raiders that featured drummer Mike “Smitty” Smith (not to be confused with The Dave Clark Five’s late lead vocalist and keyboardist Mike Smith), who would spend two long periods with the band. Around this time, KISN DJ Roger Hart, who was producing teen dances, was looking for a band to hire. Hart had a casual conversation with a bank teller who told him about a band called “Paul Revere-something”. Hart obtained Revere’s phone number and they met for lunch. Hart hired the band for one of his teen dances. Soon afterwards, Hart became the group’s personal manager. It was Hart who suggested they record “Louie Louie”, for which Hart paid them about $50, producing the song and placing it on his Sande label, ultimately attracting the attention of Columbia Records. According to Lindsay, the Northwest Raiders were a “bunch of white-bread kids doing their best to sound black. We got signed to Columbia (Records) on the strength of sounding like this”. Whether the Raiders or The Kingsmen recorded “Louie Louie” first is a matter of some controversy. However, both groups recorded it in the same studio in Portland, Oregon on Northwest 10th Avenue. By then, Raiders included Revere, Lindsay, Smith, guitarist Drake Levin and bassist Mike “Doc” Holliday, who was replaced in early 1965 by Phil Volk.

Hits in the “Action” era

In 1965, The Raiders began recording a string of garage rock classics. Under the guidance of producer Terry Melcher, the group relocated to Los Angeles and increasingly emulated the sounds of British Invasion bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, and The Animals, albeit with an American, R&B feel. Their second major national hit, “Just Like Me” (No. 11, 1965) was one of the first rock records to feature a distinctive, double-tracked guitar solo (by guitarist Drake Levin).

Just Like MeThe band appeared regularly on national television, most notably on Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is, Happening ’68, and It’s Happening, the latter two of which were co-hosted by Revere and Lindsay. Here they were presented as an American response to the British Invasion. Playing on Revere’s name, the group wore American Revolutionary War soldier uniforms, and performed slapstick comedy and synchronized dance steps while the ponytailed Lindsay lip synched to their music. This farcical, cartoonish image obscured the proto-hard rock sound that their music often took. The Raiders were endorsed by the Vox Amplifier Company (Revere used their Vox Continental combo organ, while Volk was seen on television playing their Phantom IV bass (nicknamed “the coffin bass” due to the shape of its body) —with “FANG” in masking tape letters on the backside—and everyone played through Vox Super Beatle amplifiers). Levin left the group in 1966 to join the National Guard, and was replaced by Jim Valley, another Northwest musician the Raiders had met and come to admire during their days playing the Portland and Seattle circuit. Valley was dubbed “Harpo” by the other Raiders due to a vague resemblance to the famous Marx brother (his trademark shtick on Where The Action Is was his horn, which would either bring good luck or bad luck). Their hits from the mid-60s included “Kicks” (Billboard Pop Chart No. 4), “Hungry” (No. 6), “The Great Airplane Strike” (No. 20), “Good Thing” (No. 4), and “Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” (No. 5). Of these, “Kicks” became their best-known song, an anti-drug message written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil that was originally earmarked for The Animals. (Mann later revealed in interviews that the song was written about their friend, fellow 1960s songwriter Gerry Goffin, whose on-going drug problems were interfering with his career with then-wife Carole King.)

In mid-1967, with three gold albums to their credit, The Raiders were Columbia’s top-selling rock group; their Greatest Hits was one of two releases selected by Clive Davis to test a higher list price for albums expected to be particularly popular, along with Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits.

Major lineup change

At the height of the band’s popularity, the trio of Valley, Volk and Smith left, disenchanted that the group was prevented from evolving into a more egalitarian creative team, miffed at being replaced by studio musicians on recordings, and unhappy with a continued teen-oriented direction while a more serious rock ‘n’ roll style was emerging. The first to leave was Valley, who embarked on a solo career. Drake Levin rejoined the band on guitar to finish the spring 1967 tour. Levin, Volk, and Smith flew to New York together and the Raiders were set to perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. However, Revere was upset about the trio leaving the group and blamed Levin for influencing Volk and Smith’s pending departure. Levin showed up at the Ed Sullivan Theatre to perform with Volk and Smith for the very last time, but Revere refused to allow Levin to play. Unbeknownst to the group, Revere had hired a new guitar player, Freddy Weller, to perform that night. Levin graciously stepped aside and even showed Weller the chords to the songs. Levin was forced to watch the performance from the wings as the Raiders made their one and only appearance on Sullivan’s show, on April 30, 1967. It was the only time that the lineup of Revere, Lindsay, Smith, Volk and Weller performed together. The following month, Volk and Smith left, subsequently rejoining Levin to form a band called Brotherhood. Charlie Coe, who had played guitar for The Raiders in 1963, rejoined the group on bass and Joe Correro, Jr. became the new drummer.

The “Happening” era

Changing tastes in the late 1960s rendered the group unfashionable, but they still continued to have modest hits through the rest of the decade, including “Ups And Downs,” “I Had A Dream,” “Too Much Talk,” “Don’t Take it So Hard,” “Cinderella Sunshine,” “Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon,” and “Let Me.” On January 6, 1968, just four months after the cancellation of Where The Action Is, Revere and Lindsay returned to the air as hosts of a new Dick Clark-produced show in which the Raiders made several appearances, Happening ’68 (later shortened to Happening). This weekly series was joined from July to September that year by a Clark-produced daily series It’s Happening, also hosted by Revere and Lindsay. In August 1968, bassist Coe left the group again and was replaced by former Action heartthrob Keith Allison. According to author Derek Taylor, the Raiders were seen as “irrelevances. . . . Nervous citizens felt reassured that some good safe things never changed”.

Mark Lindsay took more control of the band during this time. He produced all records beginning with Too Much Talk in 1968, and the psychedelic album Something Happening. Lindsay’s vision was represented on songs such as “Let Me” (a 1969 gold single), and the albums Hard ‘N’ Heavy (with marshmallow) and Alias Pink Puzz. (According to allmusic.com, Pink Puzz was the identity under which the Raiders first tried to get the album played on FM radio, a gambit that failed though the band kept the joke name for the album title.) The success of “Let Me” allowed Paul Revere and the Raiders to tour Europe with the Beach Boys in the spring of 1969 (they also recorded two songs for the long running German music program Beat-Club at this time). Later that autumn, Happening ended its run.

info from Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

  • Hungry
  • Hungry (Banned Lyrics Version)
  • I Hear A Voice
  • Just Like Me
  • Kicks
  • Steppin’ Out
  • There’s Always Tomorrow

Promos

  • ‘Alias Pink Puzz’ – LP Promo S
  • Greatest Hits LP Promo Spot 7
  • Pontiac GTO The Judge (Full Song)
  • Swingy Girl Mattel Doll Promo