Sunday, June 21, 2015

Paul Revere and the Raiders – "The Legend of Paul Revere" (1967)

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

[Note: This post originally appeared on July 18, 2010 – just before my 40th high-school reunion.  I'm reposting it because this week marks my 45th high-school reunion.]

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.)

Paul Revere and the Raiders in Joplin
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 Joplin's 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.

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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 2010 Joplin Globe interview with Paul Revere (real name: Paul Revere Dick, who was then 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.

Here's what that house looks like today:

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As far as other notable Joplin concerts when I lived there, 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.  Click here to listen to their one hit, "Incense and Peppermints."

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Paul Revere and the Raiders 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.

Click here to see the band performing at a "Penguin for Mayor" rally on the old "Batman" TV show.

Click here to see a really odd TV performance of "Kicks."

And last but not least, you can click here to listen to "The Legend of Paul Revere."

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

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