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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 204

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This is the grave of Paul Revere. No, not that one.

Paul Revere Dick was born in Harvard, Nebraska in 1938. At some point, his family moved to Idaho. In his early 20s, Revere evidently owned at least one restaurant in Caldwell, Idaho (real biographical details are sketchy; Wikipedia says he owned several restaurants but this doesn’t much pass the smell test to me. Seems more than a bit overstated for a kid) and met Mark Lindsay while buying hamburger buns for it or them. Revere was very interested in the new rock and roll, even though he was far away from the action. He and Lindsay formed a band called the Downbeats in 1958, but in 1960, they changed it to Paul Revere and the Raiders (wisely leaving out his unfortunate last name). The band kicked around a bit before recording “Louie Louie” in 1963. Although The Kingsmen way outsold them on their version of the song the same year, Paul Revere and his band would have a series of top 10 hits in the 1960s, including “Kicks,” “Hungry,” “Good Thing,” and “Him or Me, What’s It Going to Be?” They had one single top the pop charts–their cover of John Loudermilk’s “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian” in 1971. Throughout this period, the band got a name for mimicking the British Invasion, working that up even more with the Revolutionary War uniforms the band wore on stage to build on Revere’s name. A good gimmick, no question. The band’s most influential song was not written by Revere at all, but rather by Lindsay and Keith Allison–“Freeborn Man,” which has been used by country artists such as Jimmy Martin and Junior Brown as an excuse to show off their guitar skills. And while no one really talks about Paul Revere and the Raiders as one of the great rock and roll bands, their songs have been covered a lot by artists including David Bowie, Joan Jett, and The Sex Pistols. Let’s listen to some of the band’s hits:

Lindsay left the band in 1975 and at that point, if not before, whatever artistic vision the band had faded. But Revere put on a good act, between the garage rock and the Revolutionary War uniforms, and so he and a constantly shifting set of musicians in what was now his band remained a good concert draw for aging listeners of his generation for the rest of his life. Revere’s health was declining by 2014 but he refused to stop touring, against doctor’s orders. He died that fall at the age of 76.

Paul Revere is buried in Morris Hill Cemetery, Boise, Idaho.

If you would like to contribute to this series visiting more people who came, rocked, and left, you can donate here. My first LGM supported cemetery visit will take place with a day trip tomorrow, with a longer and more comprehensive trip coming this spring. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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