Paul Revere & Raiders
Paul Revere & the Raiders was an American rock band that saw considerable U.S. mainstream success in the second half of the 1960s and early 1970s. Among their hits were the songs "Kicks" (1966; ranked number 400 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time), "Hungry" (1966), "Him Or Me - What's It Gonna Be?" (1967) and the Platinum-certified classic #1 single "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)" (1971).
Initially based in Boise, Idaho, the Raiders began as an instrumental rock band led by organist and founder Paul Revere Dick (January 7, 1938 – October 4, 2014).
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. The circumstance of their meeting was later referred to in the tongue-in-cheek song "Legend of Paul Revere", recorded by the group. 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
By summer 1962, Revere and Lindsay were working together again in Oregon with a version of the Raiders that featured Mike "Smitty" Smith, a drummer who would spend two extended 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 afterward, 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
Hits and Promotion 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
The band appeared regularly in the U.S. on national television, most notably on Dick Clark's Where the Action Is, Happening '68, and It's Happening, the latter two co-hosted by Revere and Lindsay. In November 1966, the band appeared as themselves performing a song on the popular Batman television series in the episode "Hizzonner the Penguin". The Raiders were endorsed by the Vox Amplifier Company while Revere's keyboards were played on the Vox Continental combo organ and Volk occasionally played the Vox Phantom IV bass. When performing, the entire band was plugged into Vox Super Beatle amplifiers. When Levin left the group in 1966 to join the National Guard he was replaced by Jim Valley, another Northwest musician the Raiders had met during their days playing the Portland and Seattle music circuits. Valley was dubbed "Harpo" by the other Raiders due to a vague resemblance to the famous Marx brother.
Their hits from the this period 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
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
Major Lineup Change
At the height of the group's popularity, Valley, Volk and Smith left the band. The split happened for a number of reasons, among them being the feeling that the group was prevented from evolving into a more egalitarian creative team, upset 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 then 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 when the Raiders were booked to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. Revere was upset about Valley, Volk, and Smith leaving the group, blaming Levin for their departures. Levin showed up at the Ed Sullivan Theater 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 after showing 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 group in 1963, rejoined the band on bass with Joe Correro, Jr. becoming 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" 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
The Raiders: Early 1970s
In an effort to change the bands' sound and image, the name was officially shortened to The Raiders, while the 1970 album Collage was an attempt to move in another musical direction. It drew a glowing review from Rolling Stone magazine, with critic Lenny Kaye praising the album's production and remarking that "Mark Lindsay never fails to give the impression that he knows what he's doing. Almost single-handedly, he's brought the Raiders to a stronger position than they've occupied in years". Collage proved to be a commercial failure, however, and Lindsay began to turn toward solo projects. Joe Correro departed after their spring tour ended, to be replaced by his predecessor Mike Smith.
"Freeborn Man", a song written by Lindsay and Allison, has since gone on to be a country rock standard, covered by
As a promotional gambit, Revere took the unusual step of riding cross-country a total of four times, plugging the song at every market available. His efforts paid off: "Indian Reservation" peaked at No. 1 for one week in July. Paul Revere: "I called the head of Columbia's promotion and told him I was going on a record promotion trip, which was something artists didn't do anymore." "Indian Reservation" became Columbia's biggest-selling single for almost a decade, clearing over six million units. The success of the single was followed by a Top 20 album (Indian Reservation) and the No. 23 hit "Birds of a Feather". The Raiders also expanded to include drummer Omar Martinez and keyboardist Bob Wooley.
In 1972, the Raiders made one last attempt at a pop album, with Country Wine, but Columbia was sinking money into other acts, such as
The Later 1970s
Lineup changes ensued in early 1975, with Mark Lindsay departing the band after a gig at Knott's Berry Farm. Lindsay continued his solo career, having previously landed a hit single in late 1969 with Kenny Young's "Arizona". After two final singles for
Country music was the choice of former guitarist Freddy Weller, who had much success on the country charts before, starting with his country version of
In a memorable event, Revere married for the second time on July 4, Bicentennial Year 1976) onstage at a Raiders show." Revere announced his retirement from the music business at the end of 1976, but was back on the road by 1978 with a new cast of Raiders. Along with guitarist Doug Heath, Revere linked in this period with a group called "Louie Fontaine & the Rockets", and went on the road with them as "Paul Revere & the Raiders", featuring Blair Hill ("Louie Fontaine") as lead vocalist. This configuration even appeared as "Paul Revere's Raiders" without Paul, for a while in 1978. The quintet of Paul Revere, Mark Lindsay, Drake Levin, Phil Volk and Mike Smith reunited for Dick Clark on national television in 1979 and performed a medley of their biggest hits. The same year "Indian Reservation" was covered by the German group Orlando Riva Sound.
The 1980s to 2014
The punk rock and new wave eras would see a wave of interest in the Raiders' music; "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" was covered by the
Mark Lindsay cut a version of "Ups And Downs" in 1994 with Carla Olson, which appeared on her Reap The Whirlwind album.
Revere continued with a relatively stable lineup through the 80's and 90's, featuring longtime members Omar Martinez (drums and vocals since 1972), Doug Heath (guitarist for the Raiders since 1973), Ron Foos (bass, Allison's replacement in 1975), and lead vocalist Carlo "Carl" Driggs (who replaced Michael Bradley). Occasional new record releases included the self-produced "Special Edition" in 1983, with Michael Bradley on vocals, and "Paul Revere Rides Again", released in 1983 through Radio Shack stores. They also recorded a home video for MCA Universal in 1996 titled "The Last Madman of Rock 'N' Roll". Revere's son Jamie joined the band on guitar for several years in the 1990s, featured on "Generic Rock & Roll" (1992) and "Generic Rock 2" (1996).
On September 19, 1997, the group's classic 1966 Midnight Ride lineup (singer Mark Lindsay, guitarist Drake Levin, bassist Phil "Fang" Volk and drummer Mike "Smitty" Smith) reunited in full costume (though without Revere himself) for a 30th anniversary performance in Portland. In 2000
On October 13, 2007, Paul Revere & the Raiders were officially inducted, along with their Manager Roger Hart, into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. In attendance were Mark Lindsay, Phil "Fang" Volk, and Roger Hart to accept their awards. In 2010, the band was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. Revere announced his retirement from the band in August 2014; the group plans to tour without him as "Paul Revere's Raiders". In October 2014, the band's web site announced that Revere had died "peacefully" on October 4, 2014, at his Garden Valley, Idaho home, a "small estate overlooking a tranquil river canyon", after a battle with cancer. He was 76 years old.
Volk tours with his own band, "Fang and the Gang". Since 1967, he has been married to Where The Action Is regular Tina Mason. After leaving the Raiders in 1967, Jim Valley continued to perform and hone his songwriting skills in a variety of acts. In the early 1980s he was encouraged by educational professionals to use his musical talent to help inspire school kids. He is an acclaimed and award-winning children's music artist and educator, traveling the world as an emissary of the "Rainbow Planet". Valley continues to write and record his own albums.
Joe Correro Jr., the Raiders' drummer from 1967–1971, performs as part of the Los Angeles-based Richard Sherman Trio jazz combo. Bassist Mike "Doc" Holiday and guitarist/bassist Charlie Coe made a special guest appearance with Mark Lindsay at a show in Boise, Idaho in 1996. They both reside in Idaho. Carlo "Carl" Driggs, Paul Revere & the Raiders' longest-serving lead singer (a 20-year-plus span), was formerly lead vocalist for Kracker, a band that toured Europe as an opening act for (and had their albums distributed outside America by) the
Another Darren, Darren Dowler followed Darrin Medley as lead vocalist of the Raiders. Ironically Darren Dowler also sang with Darrin Medley's father's group, the Righteous Brothers Band singing the parts formerly sung by tenor, recording great Bobby Hatfield. Dowler, the current vocalist, has also performed with the Lettermen, the Jordanaires, the Fifth Dimension, Gary Puckett, Mitch Ryder and was the first guitarist for the Backstreet Boys in 1991 before they hit mega stardom. Dowler, also an actor and filmmaker, appeared in such films as Eagle Eye with Billy Bob Thornton and Hancock with Will Smith. In 2014 he stars in, writes and directs the films, Rock and Roll the Movie and Christmas In Hollywood. In 2014, Revere commissioned Dowler to compose an album of original songs for a new Raider album, the first all original album in 35 years.
After ending his second stint with the Raiders in 1972, drummer Mike "Smitty" Smith moved to Kona, Hawaii and continued performing for several groups in that region. Smith died of natural causes on March 6, 2001, three weeks before his 59th birthday.
Guitarist Drake Levin became an accomplished blues guitarist, playing in and forming numerous groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. On July 4, 2009, Levin died at his home in San Francisco after a long battle with cancer. He was 62. Vocalist and keyboard player Paul Revere died of cancer at his home in Garden Valley, Idaho on October 4, 2014, aged 76. His funeral, held at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise, Idaho, was attended by, amongst others, former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne.