Paul Revere & Raiders Face Long Ride to Hall of Fame

Paul Revere & the Raiders

Just some of the major hits from Paul Revere & the Raiders

(No. 24 in a continuing series on artists who should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but are not)

By Phill Marder

Except for the Coasters and the Monkees, no major group has had more fun with Rock & Roll than Paul Revere and the Raiders. Dressed in Revolutionary War garb, the band put on live appearances that produced as much laughter as musical appreciation

But behind the enjoyable stage show resided a talented collection of young musicians who held their own with the British Invasion groups as far as quality output is concerned. It wasn’t easy to do, considering that every day a terrific band had a great new single or album out. A lesser conglomeration could get crushed by the competition, and many did, swelling the ranks of one-hit wonders. But Paul Revere and the Raiders became a staple of Rock’s greatest era and, consequently, deserve induction into Rock and Roll’s Hall of Fame

Some critics (yes, one is the same guy who ripped the Moody Blues) will tell you not to be fooled into thinking this group was relevant, as if that matters. After all, how relevant does Rock & Roll have to be? “Awopbopalubopawopbamboom.“ “Bebopalula she’s my baby.“ “I’m itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree.“ “Goodness gracious, great balls of fire.“ Where’s the relevance? And to what? Rock & Roll can be just fun, ya’ know? And many critics can’t tell a bass (pronounced base) from a bass (pronounced fish) anyway.

The obviously fooled Bruce Eder writing for noted, “One of the most popular and entertaining groups of the 1960s, Paul Revere & the Raiders enjoyed seven years of serious chart action, and during their three biggest years (1966-1969), sold records in numbers second only to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. And their hits “Steppin’ Out,” “Just Like Me,” “Hungry,” “Him or Me-What’s It Gonna Be,” and “Kicks,” in particular, are now seen by compilers as bold, unpretentious pieces of ’60s rock & roll with a defiant, punk edge.”

The material, almost all group written, since has been covered by The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, The Flamin’ Groovies, Sammy Hagar and others.

Leading the band was Mark Lindsay, one of the most underrated vocalists in Rock. Lindsay could croon, but he also could shout down any set of hard-rock lyrics and do it with great style.

As Eder described, “Mark Lindsay sounded the way every male teen 14 through 17 pictured himself looking and acting at the age of 21, free and ready to say what he felt like and make it stick.”

Eder is one who knows what he’s writing about here. If you were 17 and cruising in an old Oldsmobile with an AM radio complete with a six-inch speaker in the dashboard, you know what he’s writing about, too.

But Lindsay’s vocal prowess wasn’t to emerge in the band’s first sessions, which produced a series of instrumentals. They included the group’s first hit single “Like, Long Hair” that generated an album of the same name.

The quick success was interrupted when Revere was drafted. When he returned in 1963, the group we grew to love – Revere, Lindsay, drummer Mike Smith, guitarist Drake Levin and bassist Philip “Fang” Volk – emerged.

Columbia signed the band before the year was up, but they quickly lost a battle with Northwestern rivals – The Kingsmen – when each group released “Louie Louie” as a single. The Kingsmen version soared to No. 2, eventually gaining status as one of Rock’s all-time classics. The Raiders’ version died. Why? Because the Kingsmen’s take was far superior.

The Kingsmen went on to release a string of hit singles and LPs, but eventually the Raiders recovered and blew by them. Their outlandish stage show at times included the destruction of a piano (in fun, not anger), their distinct garb and synchronized dance steps that would have gotten three 10s on today’s “Dancing With The Stars.” It wasn’t long before they drew the attention of Dick Clark, who installed the group as house band on his daily ABC TV show “Where The Action Is.” The constant nationwide exposure of over 500 appearances, made the difference.

“Steppin’ Out” and “Just Like Me” were raveups from the band’s 1966 breakthrough album “Just Like Us!,” which peaked at No. 5. Their follow-up, “Midnight Ride,” stopped at No. 9 though the single “Kicks” reached No. 4. Supposedly written for the Animals who turned it down, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann’s “Kicks” became the first major hit featuring an anti-drug message. Though it has grown in stature over the years, it further alienated the “hip” community, already turned off by the group’s attire and carefree attitude. But the album is one of the best released in the mid-60s, featuring the original version of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart’s “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone,” which destroys the Monkees’ hit version. The rest of the disc was group written.

Two more rock-solid albums, “The Spirit Of ’67” and “Revolution!,” followed and the Raiders appeared on every major television outlet for music, even hosting their own show. But the onslaught of the psychedelic era further damaged their credibility in spite of continued quality recordings from both the group and Lindsay as a solo artist. One, a cover of John D. Loudermilk’s “Indian Reservation,” actually became the group’s first No. 1 single in 1971. But in truth, it was recorded during a Lindsay solo session as the Raiders were almost non-functional as a unit by then.

Eventually, Revere – billed as the last madman of Rock and Roll – put together other sets of Raiders, keeping the group’s name and image alive through the years, and the entertaining live shows continue today. Lindsay also continues to make appearances as does Phil Volk with his group “Fang and the Gang.” But the image of Paul Revere & the Raiders is one that wouldn’t be forgotten by those who lived through the 60s even if Revere had retired in 1971. Their music should not be forgotten, either.





8 thoughts on “Paul Revere & Raiders Face Long Ride to Hall of Fame

  1. I agree 100%-Paul Revere & the Raiders are long overdue for the Hall. They certainly held their own during the British Invasion. Let’s not forget others who have also been long overdue for the Hall such as Pat Boone, Connie Francis and Paul Anka.

  2. Enough is enough, Paul Revere and the Raiders need to be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame right away. No delay. No one can Rock Like the Raiders. Ya just can’t get better than the Raiders. They R the worlds greatest Rock Group on this planet. Period. C’mon Rock & Roll Hall of fame people, Put them in there. Wake up. Just Love Paul Revere, Mark Lindsay, Phil Fang Volk,& Loved Drake Levin, & Mike Smitty Smith. Know they R smiling down. God bless them all. Take care.

  3. It is astounding that we are having to defend the Raiders and beg for their induction in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Has anyone who votes for the inductees listened to the Raiders’ albums?…seen them perform live?…paid any attention to their enduring legacy in music? If so, there can’t be any doubt whatsoever that they should be in the H of F. Their music even gets better as time goes on.

  4. The Raiders were much better on TV than the Monkees and they could even play their own instruments right from the start. Also, Kicks has to be o e of the greastest songs ever. It is timeless as current today as the day it was released.

  5. It’s a shame they are not there already. That huge Pacific NW Wall of Sound on songs such as “Just Like Me”, Steppin’ Out”, “Kicks” and “Hungry”. The truly incredible guitar work of Drake Levin on the early hits. Smitty’s intricate solid drumming. And Mark Lindsay’s howling sweet voice. This is great rock ‘n roll. I think the costumes and the multitudes of lip-sync TV appearances has set them back in the eyes of many “rock” purists. They should just listen to the music…

  6. How much does someone have to PAY the HOF decisionmakers before they act in justice and admit the Raiders??? That’s the only answer I can finally resort to in this upside-down world…a generation that craves to reward base mediocrity and talentless flops that anyone with half an ear for real music wouldn’t waste ANY attention on, much less induct into a long-revered organization like the HOF.

    On the other hand, as others quoted have well-stated, the all-American boys from the Pacific NW carried American R&R head-to-head agsinst the Brits from ’64-’68 and not only gave us great tunes to singalong to, but entertained us DAILY on the Dick Clark shows of that day. (Yeah! remember Dick Clark??? who gave life to more bands than Rubbermaid?…
    not bad company, I would say) They are by-far the most televised rock group, or, possibly, ANY group or act in history (check Guinness on that)

    I’m disgusted and convinced that the HOF board must be composed of youngsters who haven’t taken the time to crawl into the skin of the 60’s rock era and thus have their minds reconfigured to be able to recognize the wonderful uniqueness of the time, as well as to appreciate the (so far) non-HOF groups that made it so. The Raiders popularity then is indisputable, setting record stadium/concert attendances, having the Rolling Stones at one concert open the show for THE RAIDERS, not vice versa. No one’s faces were on more Teen and Pop magazines in those ’60s years than Mark Lindsay’s and Phil “Fang” Volk’s. One shot I still have from one of those journals is a big keyhole with the faces of Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Peter Noone, Davy Jones and, yes, Phil Volk & Mark Lindsay. Not bad company, I would say. Is all that “FAME” just supposed to be forgotten…why??? Is it because of their clothes? That’s the only thing I can imagine.

    The Raiders have earned their stripes…two are already dead (Drake & Smitty) Let’s give the remaining members their just reward now before it’s too late for them to bask a brief while in their well-deserved glory.


  7. I would consider them for the RRHOF if not for one factor:

    The Raiders gimmcked themselves into irrelevancy by constantly touring in those suits (minus Mark Lindsay) and also by being on TV way too many times (Solid Gold appearances being one of these times), making them out to be no better than The Bay City Rollers and Kaptain Kool & The Kongs on The Krofft Supershow. If not for that, and also because they didn’t really advance musically beyond that in the general public’s eye (check out an episode of SCTV featuring a skit called ‘South Sea Sinner’ for more evidence of what I’m saying.) and that of rock critics, I’d induct them.

    But, they didn’t advance musically. And that, compared to all of the other people inducted past and present, disqualifies them.

  8. Fantomex, you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Yes, I am a big fan of this group but, I will judge them fairly. If they didn’t belong, I wouldn’t say so. But, they do. You’re wrong. This is a real band who eventually went hard rock. Collage is a perfect example of that. Do you even know this cd? Yes, they did lots of tv shows. And Revere did go on without lindsay too. I agree that all the member changes hurt but, many bands went through member changes including fleetwood mack and the beach boys had three bands doing their songs. That is pretty common. There are lots of bands that the HOF in cleveland inducted that I wouldn’t have. But, the raiders would have been of them absolutely.

Leave a Reply