Paul Revere & The Raiders
Paul Revere (born Paul Revere Dick) started out as a barber, but with long hair becoming stylish, he switched to operating a fast food restaurant. It was there that he met Mark Lindsey who delivered the bread. They recruited other members and started playing throughout the Northwest as a heavy duty R&B band. As a gag they went to a costume shop a got Revolutionary War outfits. The gag stuck.
PR&R were the first Rock act signed to Columbia Records. Columbia was late to the party to say the least. And this may have set PR&R back. Along with probably every other Northwest band, they cut a version of "Louie, Louie." Their rendition was vastly superior to the Kingsmen's take but since Columbia didn't really know what it was doing, the Kingsmen won.
Under the direction of Doris Day's son, producer Terry Melcher, the R&B sound was dropped, much to Revere's displeasure, and a more pop/Rock approach was adopted.
Paul Revere & The Raiders had several hits in the mid-60s and surprisingly, given changing tastes, continued to do well through the late-60s. They were mainstays on Dick Clark's daily TV show Where The Action Is and Revere and Lindsey later hosted It's Happening and Happening '68 (which was shortened to Happening in '69). The music/interview shows also featured the group.
"Just Like Me" (#11),"Hungry" (#6), "The Great Airplane Strike" (#20), "Good Thing" (#4), and "Him or Me - What's It Gonna Be?" (#5) were from the group's initial run. The standout was "Kicks," an anti-drug song during a period when drugs were 'cool'. Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil about fellow songwriter Gerry Goffin (the one-time husband and songwriting partner of Carole King), the song was originally slated for The Animals. But frontman Eric Burdon didn't think it was 'hip'. So "Kicks" went to Paul Revere & The Raiders who took it to #4 on the Billboard chart. The '66 hit was later slotted at #400 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
With the exception of Revere and Lindsey, The Raider line-up changed completely in '67. Melcher also departed and Lindsey became the creative leader. In the short term, it worked producing another set of chart successes - "I Had A Dream," "Too Much Talk" and "Don't Take It So Hard."
Already dismissed as a teenybopper fodder their 'hits' "Cinderella Sunshine," "Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon," and "Let Me" seemed designed specifically for that market though "Let Me" tried to land FM airplay.
Figuring that the name 'Paul Revere & The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsey' was anathema to FM programmers, the group released "Let Me" under the name Pink Puzz. If the song got airplay it would prove that FM had a bias against the group. Whether Pink Puzz or Revere & The Raiders, FM passed on "Let Me" though Top 40 picked up on it. '69 album title "Alias Pink Puzz" referenced that subterfuge.
Continuing to move from pop, the group dropped the antiquated "Paul Revere &" part and the "featuring Mark Lindsey" tag to simply become The Raiders. It didn't make much of a difference. Shortly thereafter, Lindsey embarked on a MOR solo career that was most notable for the hit "Arizona."
Just when it looked like The Raiders were about to totally fade away, they scored their only #1 with a cover of John D. Loudermilk's "Indian Reservation" (originally recorded by Don Fardon). The song actually started as a Lindsey solo.
But not even a #1 could keep time and trends from sideswiping the band. They spent the following decades on the county fair/lounge circuit where they once again became Paul Revere & The Raiders.
1965: Here They Come!
1966: Just Like Us!
1966: Midnight Ride
1966: The Spirit of '67
1967: A Christmas Present...And Past
1967: Greatest Hits
1968: Goin' To Memphis
1968: Something Happening
1969: Hard 'N' Heavy (with Marshmallow)
1969: Alias Pink Puzz
1971: Indian Reservation
1972: Country Wine
1972: All-Time Greatest Hits
Paul Revere & The Raiders' debut "Here They Come!" has a live version of "Louie, Louie" and R&B covers. Revere claims this was his favorite period.
As a cross between the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones, PR&R produced a series of Rock 'n' Roll gems including "Steppin' Out," "Hungry," "Kicks" and "Good Thing." These songs are rounded up on "Paul Revere & The Raiders' Greatest Hits." Individual RR&R albums are generally solid, if unexceptional. The two best are "Spirit of '67" and "Revolution."
After releasing bubble-gum fodder, the group produced the Rockin' "Collage." The album is far from great but give the Raiders credit for attempting a change. It contains hard-edged/jailbait "Just Seventeen" and Laura Nyro's "Save The Country."
Surprisingly, when they reached the end of the road they had their biggest hit with a remake of Don Fardon's "Indian Reservation," selling three million copies.
There are two exceptional PR&R compilations. "The Legend of Paul Revere" and "The Essential Ride 1963-67" have the group's hits plus tracks from their R&B period.