The Raiders‘ organist and leader Paul Revere passed away in his home in Idaho yesterday, October 4th, at the age of 76, according to the band’s official website. Although no cause of death has been released, Revere (born Paul Revere Dick) had been fighting cancer over the last year.
In a long letter posted on The Raiders’ website, the organist is remembered from a fan’s perspective. “Like most people, my initial introduction to you was on television, radio and records, but none of those mediums gave me a real clue to the one-of-a-kind life force that was Paul Revere,” the letter reads. “Sitting in an audience at my first Paul Revere and The Raiders concert introduced me to a larger-than-life dynamo of high-energy slapstick, outrageous and spontaneous humor and a genuine child-like joy. Everyone in attendance just knew that you MUST be a wonderful person offstage too, no doubt about it.” His on-stage antics earned him the reputation as “the madman of rock ‘n’ roll,” and his memorable organ riffs endeared him to thousands of fans over the years.
Dressed in their iconic Revolutionary War themed getups – attire the real Paul Revere, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, or the newest hipster indie rock band (see Vampire Weekend) would wear – The Raiders recorded a handful of hits during the course of their fifty year career together. In the 60s, they managed to land four Top Ten singles, including the anti-drug tune “Kicks,” “Hungry,” “Him or Me, What’s It Gonna Be,” and “Good Thing.” Their most notable recording was 1971’s “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian).” Originally written by John D. Loudermilk, the Raider’s version surprisingly made it to Billboard’s Number One slot in July of that year and sold over a million copies.
In July of this year, however, Revere wrote a Facebook post that remained positive, but revealed he was dealing with some health problems. “Even though I’ve had some health issues, nothing can stop the old man. I’m like the Energizer Bunny! I jump on my tour bus and go from city to city, packing a trunk full of great Raider songs, tight pants and bad jokes – all against doctor’s orders, by the way!” Revere clearly had no intention of slowing down. “I’ve been the worst patient these guys have ever seen, and they’ve been on me to take a break all year. So, we finally did take a break, and recorded two new singles (due out in September), but that’s not good enough for them. They want a longer break. I told them, ‘Hey, I’ve got to hit the road, I’m booked! And I’m bored!!’” Revere and The Raiders indeed planned to hit the road, having scheduled shows well into 2015.
“But now you have passed on,” the closing paragraph of letter reads. “By your example, both professional and personal, you’ve left a blueprint of how to live a life full of love, laughter and happiness. The world will be a lot less fun, a lot less kind and gentle without Paul Revere in it. Your larger-than-life absence will leave a void in our hearts and our lives. We are all blessed to have known you, and we’ll miss you more than you could ever know. Love forever, Everyone who has ever met you.”