Paul Revere and The Raiders wore Minutemen uniforms, acted silly (a requirement following A Hard Day’s Night and Help), had a teen idol in singer Mark Lindsey, and perhaps suffered overexposure as the house band on the weekly pop music TV show, Happening ’68. Earlier they were regulars on Dick Clark’s Where The Action Is, so they were all over television for a couple of years. All that made them easy to dismiss later as tastes changed and bands were expected to dress more like hippies and act more seriously, or at least like they were on harder drugs. That’s too bad. They were a great band, and the proof is in the grooves. There’s the Stonesy song posted above. Just Like Me , Steppin’ Out, and Hungry are among the best 60’s garage-rock songs. Good Thing gets more sophisticated with the Beach Boys vocal bit in the bridge, but the blistering instrumental track takes no prisoners. They earned their chops grinding it out in the Pacific Northwest club and teen-dance circuit, and you can hear it in Good Thing (no doubt some Raiders songs employed the Wrecking Crew, but this one sounds too unhinged to be the WC). Kicks features an unforgettable twelve-string riff, and its chorus is a textbook on how to write and produce a simple, effective hook. There’s nothing extraneous in that chorus, it just pounds in the hook. It also pulls the amazing stunt of being a cool anti-drug song. Does another even exist?
The Raiders ended up sort of like Max Baer post Beverly Hillbillies: once Jethro, always Jethro. They did manage one hit with a new beards-and-blue-jeans look, but it wasn’t any good (it’s called Indian Reservation, if you really must). Just how the ball bounces. This decade’s stars, next decade’s has-beens.