Paul Revere, the leader of Paul Revere and Raiders, died yesterday at age 76. Though the band passed out of most peoples’ consciousness decades ago, they continued to tour across the country until Revere announced his illness.
When I was still in elementary school, growing up in Shoreline, I was a Raiders fan. No not the guys in the skull and crossbones, the ones in the Revolutionary War uniforms. The first record I ever bought was the single of “Kicks” in 1966. I was in fifth grade. The first album I bought was “Spirit of 67;” I was in sixth grade. The Raiders were on “Where the Action Is” every day after school, and eventually they would be on “Happening” a Saturday afternoon show. Both were produced by Dick Clark.
I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about Paul Revere and the Raiders for some time. I have strong feelings about their ties to the Northwest rock scene. Yes, there really was a Northwest rock scene before the emergence of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and it was just as distinctive and original as the grunge sound that appeared 30 years later.
Paul Revere was the founder and leader of this band. We often remember them for the goofy uniforms, their choreographed steps, or that they were made for television-willing to be filmed on the beach, on top of a bus, and did anything for a laugh. Revere had incredible business acumen, knew what would sell, and was willing to play along with the CBS Records. But he was a showman first, and his roots were firmly in making accessible music. Revere refused to allow his creation to be swept up in the counter-culture. For the most part, their songs were parent-friendly. Revere follows guitarist Drake Levin, and drummer Mike Smith in death.
I’ll follow this post with a review of two of their earlier albums, “Here We Come,” and “Just Like Us” later in the week, as well a digital anthology, “The Legend of Paul Revere” later this week.