PAUL REVERE & the RAIDERS – Greatest Hits – Columbia KCS 9462 – May 1967
1965 and 1966 – back when music was fun. Sigh.
Here’s a band that were destined to represent the best of PopRock when innocence was ripening. Paul Revere and the Raiders were a highly entertaining energetic and solid rockin’ band with members Paul Revere (real name) – keyboards, Mark Lindsey – vocals, Phil “Fang” Volk – bass, Mike “Smitty” Smith – drums, Drake “Kid” Levin – guitar, and Jim “Harpo” Valley – guitar (replacing Levin while in the Nat’l. Guard); that delivered a steady punch of U.S./Brit Pop Punk Rock.
Like their time-stamp ’66 hit Kicks that warned of drug abuse, the following year 1967 would begin an exciting but sobering clarity of childhood’s end, not just for 00individual but for society, and eventually civilization. With the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Francis Kennedy, everyone grew up to face the realizations around them – it was LSD for the masses.
But for a very special time, from ’62 and ’63 with the Surf ‘n’ Car Culture; ’64, ’65 and ’66 with the British Invasion; then up through the beginnings of Psychedelic Rock in ’67 music was FUN, that’s right, with a capital F-U-N!
Columbia Record’s producer Terry Melcher, the son of iconic singer/actress Doris Day (Que Sera, Sera), produced many top bands like The Byrds and The Mamas and the Papas with highly successful results, especially with The Raiders during their peak.
Stream of Consciousness Trip #1: Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, a friend of Melcher, met and was impressed with Charles Manson’s music through two female Manson Family members he picked up hitch-hiking. Wilson introduced Manson to Melcher, and The Beach Boys recorded a couple Manson songs produced by Melcher. On the verge of signing Manson and filming a documentary about the Family, both Wilson and Melcher came to their senses after witnessing an intense encounter Manson had with another on the Ranch. Melcher and Wilson immediately distanced themselves from Manson. Melcher declined to sign him – Manson got angry.
Melcher and his girlfriend, the epitome of the hot ’60s/’70’s girl-next-door actress Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown), and Raider vocalist Mark Lindsey had just moved out of the 10050 Cielo Drive Beverly Hills house that they shared and where all of the Raiders would often gather to discuss new songs with Melcher. Roman Polanski moved in, and some surmised that Manson did not know this and that Sharon Tate and the rest were murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This theory has later been disputed, but not disproved – as anyone who has even casually investigated this case will know that there were machinations going on far beyond what the media even knew, let alone the public. In any case, it’s safe to say that Melcher, Bergen, Lindsey, as well as possibly the other members of the band lived to tell the tale by a karmic throw of the dice.
Stream of Consciousness Trip #2: While co-managing the DisConnection (Grammy and Granny’s) Record Store in Westwood Village in the mid ’70s, and after negotiating a box of trade-in LPs, 00individual pulled out the ultimate vinyl bootleg entitled “LIE” (spoof cover of LIFE magazine) – it was an album of songs by Charles Manson – a couple thousand were pressed and distributed on the West Coast by Trademark of Quality. He listened to it once, wasn’t impressed by the Folksy blandness, and put it on display in the collectors rack behind the counter – and sold it almost immediately for $50.00! That was an outrageous price for any album back then and was priced as more of a novelty never thinking anyone would actually buy it!
Steppin’ Out was 00individual’s first introduction to Paul Revere and the Raiders – he really liked that song and it stuck with him throughout his life as an iconic cocky rocker with Lindsey’s snarling laughs and a proto-punk attitude – and with a Hell of a lot of Fun – these guys were great!
Check the Steppin’ Out video for rockin’ infectious innocent ’66 fun.
Paul Revere and the Raiders Rock History Landmarks:
The Raiders’ first major national hit, “Just Like Me” was one of the first rock records to feature a distinctive, double-tracked guitar solo, performed by guitarist Drake Levin.
They were reported to be the first major band in history to tour with all members amplified, including sidemen.
They appeared regularly in the U.S. on national television on Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is; a trippy after-school show filmed live and usually on location in various Southern California locations with major groups performing/lip-syncing their hits.
Revere and Lindsay co-hosted later incarnations of Action with Happening ’68, and It’s Happening.
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 President of Columbia Records Clive Davis to test a higher list price for albums expected to be particularly popular (along with Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits).
And while the Raiders are seen lip-syncing many of their live performances, it was the preferred “standard operating procedure” for filming convenience of bands and singers for TV shows. In reality the Raiders were one of the hardest-working bands of talented musicians that rocked live with the best! See them perform live over a decade later:
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Dick Clark Reunion 1979 – Medley of Hits!
00individual really dug PR and the Raiders – the songs in bold were 45 RPM singles he purchased separately before the release of their greatest hits album.
PAUL REVERE & the RAIDERS Greatest Hits
1. Louie, Louie – Richard Berry – 2:47
2. Louie, Go Home – 3:00 Mark Lindsay / Paul Revere & the Raiders – 2:39
3. Steppin’ Out – Mark Lindsay / Paul Revere & the Raiders – 2:12 Jan. 3, 1966
4. Just Like Me – Rick Dey / Roger Hart – 2:23 Jan.3, 1966 (Billboard Pop Chart No. 11, 1965)
5 . Melody for an Unknown Girl – Mark Lindsay / Paul Revere & the Raiders – 2:04
6. Kicks – Barry Mann / Cynthia Weil – 2:26 May 6, 1966 (Billboard Pop Chart No. 4)
7. Hungry – Barry Mann / Cynthia Weil – 2:57 November 28, 1966 (Billboard Pop Chart No. 6)
8. Great Airplane Strike – Mark Lindsay / Terry Melcher / Paul Revere & the Raiders – 2:53
9. Good Thing – Mark Lindsay / Terry Melcher Paul Revere & the Raiders 3:01 November 28, 1966 (Billboard Pop Chart No. 4)
10. Ups and Downs – Mark Lindsay / Terry Melcher Paul Revere & the Raiders 2:51 (Fun video from the Smothers Brothers Show)
11. Legend of Paul Revere – Mark Lindsay / Terry Melcher Paul Revere & the Raiders 3:06
While the American Revolutionary uniform theme, name and costumes worked very well for them, serious socially-conscious rock bands were replacing the fun gimmick bands like Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs in turbans; Gary Puckett and the Union Gap in Union Army uniforms of the American Civil War, and even The Association pulled off a coup with a name that played on the synonymous term for Organized Crime, Mafioso, and other ‘Businessmen” by just wearing suits, which in the Counter-Culture’s eye was a uniform.
Valley, Volk, and Smith left the band at the height of the Raiders’ popularity and formed what they considered a more relevant rock band, Brotherhood.
Paul Revere and the Raiders accumulated 24 hit singles,
and over 750 television performances within the decade of the 1960’s.
Unlike the forced clowning around of The Monkees and The Beatles, The Raiders were clever improvisers inspired by their own sense of humor – and it was contagious – and it connected with the fans.
Example: Core Raider Phil “Fang” Volk had a quirky concept of flashing the back of his his trademark electric-tape(d) “FANG” bass guitar while performing live. He had so much fun doing it that it became a “looked-forward-to” moment by fans as a nonsensical exhibition of free speech and self-promotion – that worked.
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