Rock ’n’ roll lost a true original on October 4th with the death of Paul Revere, flamboyant leader and keyboard player for the influential 1960s group, Paul Revere & The Raiders. The cause of death has not been announced but sources say the 76-year-old was battling cancer in recent months.
Despite their gimmicky Revolutionary War uniforms, the Pacific-based band consistently banged out some of the hardest hitting rock of the decade, offering America its greatest defense against the British Invasion. Even after signing a major contract with Columbia, famed L.A. producer Terry Melcher wisely left their garage-friendly sound intact, creating amped up proto-punk records that sound decades before their time.
With Mark Lindsay on lead vocals, the Raiders scored five Top 10 hits including “Kicks,” Hungry,” “Good Thing,” and “Him Or Me, What’s It Gonna Be,” and also 1971’s Number One smash “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian).” They also became unlikely television figures, appearing regularly on squeaky-clean teen programs like Where The Action Is and It’s Happening to deliver their uncompromising sounds across network airwaves.
VH1 is paying tribute to Paul Revere today by looking back at the chart-busters and deep cuts from the self proclaimed “madman of rock ’n’ roll.” For the band’s long-time fans, we hope you rediscover some great music. And for the uninitiated, we offer a piece of advice: turn it up. Read on for 8 songs that prove why Paul Revere & The Raiders were among the hardest rocking bands of the ’60s.
8. “Steppin’ Out” (1966)
From the growling guitar, overloaded bass, and unrelenting beat, this two-and-a-half minute snarl pummels you into submission. It opens their 1966 album Just Like Us, their first long player following their star-making appearances on ABC’s variety program, Where The Action Is.
7. “The Great Airplane Strike” (1966)
Never has a strike rocked so hard. This song from their Spirit of ’67 album hit number 20 on the charts.
6. “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” (1966)
Fans of the Monkees are familiar with this Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart stomper, but Revere and Co. put the Pre-fab Four in their place with their furious original recording.
5. “There’s Always Tomorrow” (1966)
Switching it up a bit, the warm harmonies on “There’s Always Tomorrow” show that Paul Revere & The Raiders were more nuanced than your average garage rockers.
4. “Baby Please Don’t Go” (1965)
Their take on this blues standard gives Van Morrison & Them a run for their money.
3. “Just Like Me” (1965)
Originally by The Wilde Knights, the gritty cut was the band’s second major hit single. Listen for Drake Levin’s double-tracked guitar solo!
2. Let Me (1969)
This later era Top 20 track was originally featured on their Alias Pink Puzz LP. Due to the cultural changes that had rocked the musical world in a few short years, the Raiders found themselves largely brushed aside. In a desperate bid for relevance, they submitted the single to LA-area FM stations under the pseudonym, “Pink Puzz.”
1. “Hungry” (1966)
Sure, it eventually went on to be used in ’90s food commercials, but let’s not forget that this was some heavy stuff when bumping up against the Supremes and the Beau Brummels in the Top 40. If it’s good enough for Sammy Hagar it’s good enough for us.
“Like, Long Hair” (1961)
This early instrumental showcases Paul Revere’s piano punishing keyboard skills. We can’t imagine a better tribute for the influential music trailblazer.