Paul Revere, founder and keyboard player for the rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders, died at the age of 76. Paul Revere & the Raiders trace their origins to a band called the Downbeats, which featured Revere (born Paul Revere Dick) and singer Mark Lindsey. The band changed its name to Paul Revere & the Raiders in 1960 on the eve of their first recod release for Gardenia Records.
The band had a regional hit in the Pacific Northwest in 1961 with the instrumental “Like Long Hair”; it got enough national attention to reach #38 on the Billboard Hot 100. At this point, Revere was drafted for military service. As a conscientious objector, he worked as a cook in a mental institution for a year and a half. In the meantime, the other Raiders, hoping to capitalize on the momentum of “Like Long Hair”, toured in the summer of 1961, with Leon Russell taking Revere’s place on piano.
By the summer of 1962, Revere and Lindsay were working together again, but they were the only remaining members from the previous incarnation of Paul Revere & the Raiders. They were signed to Columbia Records, and in 1965, the began recording a string of garage rock classics, emulating the sound of British Invasion bands while adding an American R&B feel. Their first major national hit, “Just Like Me” (U.S. #11) was the first in a string of hits. Their hits from this period included “Kicks”, “Hungry” and “Good Thing”. By mid-1967, they were Columbia’s top-selling rock group.
Changing tastes in the late 1960s soon rendered the group unfashionable, but they still continued to have modest hits through the rest of the decade. In 1970, they shortened their name to The Raiders, and even had a number one hit with “Indian Reservation” in 1971 (the title track from their then-current LP), a song which was buoyed by Revere’s promotional gambit of riding cross-country four times to plug the song. By 1972, Columbia was sinking money into newer acts, and none of their subsequent singles reached the Top 40. The band was relegated to oldie act status, playing state fairs and amusement parks. Mark Lindsey left the band in 1975, effectively ending the classic Raiders period. Revere would continue to tour with the Raiders for many years, although no new Raider material was recorded after 1976.