Sunday, July 18, 2010

Paul Revere and the Raiders -- "Legend of Paul Revere" (1967)

And all youth stations, across the nation
Please play our records for your congregation

Paul Revere and the Raiders were the biggest band to appear in concert in my home town (Joplin, Missouri) when I was growing up.  Fortunately, I went to the concert, which took place in either the late spring or summer of 1967 -- when I was 15, and just about to enter high school.  (Unfortunately, I didn't go with a girl -- I went with a male friend.)
Between late 1965 and mid-1969, Paul Revere and the Raiders had a dozen hit singles -- including four that made it to #6 or better on the Billboard "Hot 100" charts -- and three gold albums.  The Raiders were also the stars of a couple of Dick Clark-produced television shows on ABC ("Where the Action Is" and "It's Happening").  Their four biggest hit singles -- including "Kicks," "Hungry," and "Good Thing" -- were released in 1966 or early 1967, and they appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on April 30, 1967, so they were pretty much at the peak of their national popularity when I saw them at Memorial Hall. 

Which leads me to ask this question: Why in the world did one of the most successful top-40 bands in the country decide to play a concert in Joplin?  I have no answer for that one -- I don't even have a remotely plausible theory.

To make the Joplin visit even more remarkable, it turns out that the photo for the Raiders' next album cover was taken on the porch of a house in Joplin.

Here's the album cover:

Why was the album cover photo taken there?  According to a July 9, 2010, Joplin Globe interview with Paul Revere (whose real name is Paul Revere Dick, and who is now performing nightly in Branson), Columbia Records decided in 1967 that it was time for the band to get a new album out toot sweet.  Because their tour was going to last for some time, the record company flew a photographer from California to Joplin to shoot the cover of the album, which was titled "Revolution."  The photographer drove around town, looking for visual inspiration, and stumbled upon what Revere said he described to the band members as "a beautiful old colonial mansion."

The photographer must have flunked American history.  He may have flunked architecture history as well -- the house he chose looks a little bit like an antebellum Southern plantation but doesn't look remotely colonial.

As far as other Joplin concerts, there's not a lot to say.  I mostly remember the concerts that were advertised and then cancelled.  The Buckinghams were one band that cancelled -- I heard the story was that their lead guitarist broke his hand.  Whatever the reason, it was kind of a drag that they didn't show:

Smokey Robinson was also schedule to appear in Joplin but didn't -- the rumor was that he was drunk or in a drug-induced haze in his motel room the night of the concert, and so was unable to perform.

One band that did make it to Joplin was one of the great one-hit-wonders of the psychedelic era, the Strawberry Alarm Clock.  Here's a video of their one hit, "Incense and Peppermints":

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any video of Paul Revere and the Raiders performing "The Legend of Paul Revere," a tongue-in-cheek autobiographical song from the "Revolution" album.  So here are the lyrics to the entire song:

In a little town in Idaho
Way back in sixty-one
A man was frying burgers
Gee, it seemed like lots of fun
But to his friend the bun boy
He confessed, "It's misery
I think I'd like to start a group
So come along with me"

And all youth stations, across the nation
Please play our records for your congregation

The band soon started booming
They were raking in the coin
They found few new musicians
And persuaded them to join
And Paul Revere decided
Since they had such new-found fame
We need a fancy title
And "The Raiders" they became


They soon packed up for Hollywood
To read their fortunes there
But streets aren't really paved with gold
And you can't live on air
And then Dick Clark approached them
Said "I know a thing or two
I'll put you on a TV show
And make big stars of you"


Now things are going groovy
And we really can't complain
Though the pace of rock-and-rolling
Nearly drives us all insane
Everybody's pushing
Saying give it all you can
Come to think of it
Our business manager's our biggest fan

Here are videos of Paul Revere and the Raiders performing a few of their hits.  They were a terribly entertaining bunch.

In this video of the band lip-synching to "Steppin' Out" on a Canadian TV show, there is no attempt to pretend that they are actually performing the song live -- look closely and you'll see that the boys are playing toy musical instruments:

Here the band is pretending to perform at a "Penguin for Mayor" rally on the old "Batman" TV show:

Here's a link to use if you would like to buy this song from Amazon:


  1. Gary...Mike Davis and I took "dates" to that concert. Since we were not old enough to drive, Mr.and Mrs. Davis drove us to and from the concert. On the way back home, somehow the cost of the tickets came up,and,when Mrs. Davis found out that Mike and I had paid $15.00 per person to go to the concert,($30.00 per couple)she went through the roof. (It was our own money, not hers.) It was a great concert and I believe it was the first time I ever saw/heard a "real band" that is, not a garage band in concert. Thanks for the memory. Scott Blick

  2. Thanks for the comment, Scott. A surprising number of our classmates went to that concert. My "date" was Rick Orton -- glad you and Mike were able to do better than me. (Do you remember who your dates were?) I think my souvenir program from the concert is somewhere at my parents' house, so I will look for it during my visit for the reunion. I'm sorry that Mike isn't going to be there -- I would have loved to catch up with him. Sadly, he is one of a number of classmates who are no longer living.

  3. Gary...he would have loved it!!! Never met a party he didn't enjoy! Scott

  4. Linda Hirshey CarlsonJuly 19, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    Wow, did this ever bring back memories! I, too, went to the Raiders concert. My dad worked for KODE-TV & they had brought the concert to Joplin. Consequently, I got to sit in the 2nd row & 3 of my friends & I got to go backstage & meet Mark Lindsay before the concert. We each gave him a rose & he kissed each of us on the cheek. I'm pretty sure I didn't wash that cheek for days! That was the highlight of my young life, up to that point. That was the beginning of my obsession with rock music, which continues to this day. I'm really enjoying your blog. Thanks for sharing!
    Linda Hirshey Carlson