Paul Revere and the Raiders Bio
Paul Revere 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 version but
since Columbia didn't really know what it was doing, the Kingsmen's
Under the production of Doris Day's
son Terry Melcher, the R & B sound was dropped, much to Revere's
displeasure, and a more pop/Rock approach was adopted. It was
successful with hits "Good Thing" and "Kicks" among others. "Kicks"
was originally submitted to the Animals but they passed on it
feeling it was too pop. Eventually, Melcher departed and Lindsey
became the creative leader. In the short term, it worked with
another set of hits including "Too Much Talk" and "Let Me." Already
dismissed as a teenybopper band their following "hits" ("Mr. Sun,
Mr. Moon" and "Cinderella Sunshine") seemed designed specifically
for that market.
Turning away from pop, they dropped
Revere's name and the "featuring Mark Lindsey" tag, simply becoming
The Raiders, in an effort to be taken seriously. Didn't make much
difference. Shortly thereafter, Lindsey embarked on a MOR solo
career. Revere recruited yet another set of Raiders, placed his name
back out front and hit the oldies circuit.
Starting in the Northwest, and making a name for themselves on the
regional dance scene, Paul Revere and the Raiders were a hard-core
white R&B act. As the first "Rock" act signed by Columbia Records
their debut "Here They Come!" had a live version of "Louie, Louie."
Revere claims this was his favorite period.
With producer Terry Melcher, the
PR&R sound was designed to be a cross between the Beach Boys and
Rolling Stones. It worked. PR&R produced a series of Rock 'n' Roll
gems like "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." Melcher's departure
resulted in singer Mark Lindsey assuming producer and main
songwriter responsibilities. With new members on bass, guitar and
drums, PR&R took a decidedly pop turn. Songs like "Too Much Talk" or
"Let Me" show the Raiders Rockin' but still courting a pop audience.
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.